Excited for this Cyprien Gaillard show coming to PS1 this month! I think/hope this will make up for the mediocre/terrible exhibitions that PS1 have been putting on for the past 6 months (minus the Art Book Fair!)
Cyprien Gaillard at PS1
January 20 — March 18, 2013
Still from Cities of Gold and Mirrors
Stills from Desniansky Raion
Cairns (12 Riverford Road, Pollokshaws, Glasgow, 1967-2008)
From PS1′s site:
Cyprien Gaillard’s (b. 1980, Paris) work navigates geographical sites and psychological states, addressing the relationship between architecture and nature, and evolution and erosion. Using a variety of artistic mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to photography, film, and video, Gaillard juxtaposes pictorial beauty and the atmospherically lush with elements of sudden violence, destruction, and idiosyncrasy culled from popular culture, pointing to the precarious nature of public space, social ritual, and the very viability of the notion of civilization.
Combining minimal composition, a romantic visual sensibility, and a youthful, anarchic spirit, Gaillard’s work displays a personal vision or reading of landscapes and cities, whether he trains his gaze upon land art sites, crumbling 1960s urban high-rises, culturally entrenched logos, explosive building demolition procedures, or public monuments. He invests these sites with new traits through his interventions, resulting in architectural travelogues dense with layers of suggestive symbols, as well as an incisive examination of the foundations and inventions of civilizations, both ancient and modern, revealing their simultaneously seductive and alienating features.
The artist’s first solo exhibition in New York is comprised of over 80 works, including five major cinematic works and two site-specific works made in New York on the occasion of his MoMA PS1 presentation. In Cities of Gold and Mirrors (2009), shot in Cancun, Mexico, images of Mayan ruins are interspersed with the golf courses, mega-resorts, and tourists that now saturate the area, as incensed adolescents guzzle tequila with the same elated fervor that characterizes a ritualistic dance performed by a gangster on the ruins of El Ray.
Cyprien Gaillard presents Egyptian Lover and Salem DJ set
This Sunday at Winter Open House, PS1, 4 PM in the VW Dome
On the occasion of the opening of his first New York solo show, Cyprien Gaillard invites West Coast rap pioneer Egyptian Lover and special guests to bridge the distance between Los Angeles’ Watts Towers and the Temples of Abu Simbel, all under the roof of MoMA PS1′s geodesic dome, in a celebration of both artists’ mutual fascination with anachronism. In his work, Gaillard combines elements of the found, the photographic, the cinematic, the architectural, and the social to provoke visual or associative connections between ancient ruins and neglected contemporary spaces.
Happy last Saturday of 2012!
Lewis Klahr-Altair (1995)
For the next two evenings the Museum of Art & Design will be hosting interesting cinema events which feature the animation of Robert Breer and Martha Colburn. I have featured both Breer’s and Colburn’s work on this site in the past—and since I have such exquisite taste y’all should listen to me and go and check both shows out!
Robert Breer on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM. More info here.
Last night I was searching for a video art piece on youtube that I saw in a video art class at the Mass College of Art in 1995. I could not find the work but I did come across the Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie, whose Writing ‘The Orchid Pavilion’ One Thousand Times makes the “ten best auction results for video art 2010-12″ list. This work comes in as the 6th highest priced work. I have never heard of this artist before and realize I need to learn more about Chinese contemporary art. The others on the list include William KENTRIDGE (2 times), Nam June PAIK (2 times), Bruce NAUMAN, Bill VIOLA (2 times), Charles RAY, & Tony OURSLER.
Fall I & Fall II (1970) – Bas Jan Ader
I’m Too Sad To Tell You (1971) – Bas Jan Ader
My favorite exhibitions/artworks from my latest Chelsea wanders:
4 Films at Peter Blum Gallery in Chelsea
Su-Mei Tse, Dizziness of Life, 2011
SUPERFLEX, Modern Times Forever, 2011, (a 240 hour film!)
Disruptive Desires at Sean Kelly Gallery with Laurent Grasso, Rebecca Horn, Ran Huang. Running June 23rd – August 3rd
RAN HUANG, Disruptive Desires, Tranquility and the Loss of Lucidity, 2012, HD video, 23 minutes
From the Sean Kelly website:
Ran Huang’s 22-minute film, Disruptive Desires, Tranquility, and the Loss of Lucidity, is in the main gallery. The film begins with two young people shyly engaged in conversation, interspersed with outdoor scenes of a forest. As the two protagonists share details of their lives, an ominous undertone becomes apparent—one that is sexually charged— suggesting that the pleasant, almost dream-like ambiance of the film is misleading and that disturbing events may have taken place in the characters’ pasts. The uneasy balance between beauty and transgression creates a darkly dynamic atmosphere, demanding that the viewer reconcile the visual appeal of the imagery with a troubling latent motif.
Though the works on view vary in execution and are separated by several decades, these films possess a shared thematic concern: the disruption of the conventional interpretation of the language of desire, offering in its place an interpretation that is considerably more layered, ambivalent and complex.
Painting in Space at Luhring Augustine, June 22, 2012 – August 17, 2012
Painting in Space, Installation view
Painting in Space, Installation view
Franz West, Der Ficker, 2006
Charline von Heyl, Merci Cheri, 2010
Jacqueline Humphries, Untitled, 2011
Amy Sillman, Untitled, 2012
The exhibition comprises works by 25 international artists including: Carol Bove, Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Wade Guyton, Mark Handforth, Rachel Harrison, Charline von Heyl, Jacqueline Humphries, Glenn Ligon, Sarah Morris, Tony Oursler, R.H. Quaytman, Pipilotti Rist, Amy Sillman, Josh Smith, Haim Steinbach, Mark di Suvero, Tunga, Nicola Tyson, Kelley Walker, Lawrence Weiner, Franz West, Rachel Whiteread, and Andrea Zittel.
Zoe Strauss: 10 Years, A Slideshow at Bruce Silverstein Gallery,
June 28, 2012 – August 03, 2012
DATA TRASH, Curated by Chris Dorland, at i-20, May 24 – July 20, 2012
With: Nathan Azhderian, Gretchen Bender, Lizzi Bougatsos, Jim Brittingham, Sean Dack, David Deutsch, Matt Ducklo, Valie Export, Shane Hope, Devin Kenny, Josh Kline, Erin Knutson, Justin Lieberman, Ken Lum, Marlene McCarty, Walter Robinson, Saki Sato, Kiki Seror, Josh Tonsfeldt, Phil Vanderhyden, Kandis Williams
Screw You, at Susan Inglett Gallery, from May 31 – Jul 27, 2012
Sunday night music
Untitled (Alps), 2012
Friend of Cheap & Plastique Nathan Wasserbauer interviews Brooklyn-based artist Aaron Williams for Issue 10. See more of Aaron’s work here. Read another interview with Aaron on the Art Fag City website here.
C & P: Your work has changed in the last few years, and you’ve recently completed a new body of work. Was this change a deliberate move or more of a gradual evolution?
Aaron: Sort of both. For the past few years, I’ve been moving away from what I consider to be more traditional and prescribed ways of making things. I started off as an abstract painter and I think I just got tired of the conversations and assumptions of the medium. It all seemed very limiting to me and I made a decision to open up my studio practice as much as possible, to allow for a variety of mediums and working methods. Exploring different facets of an idea through different mediums is important, to try to bring ideas that exist in the studio into the real world as much as possible.
C & P: There is a sense of absence in your work, with visual clues or remnants of that which had been. Works officially “Untitled” also record in parenthesis the person or event that was formerly represented on the page. How significant is this to reading, or reacting to the work?
Aaron: The idea of trace, or remnant has been a constant in my work, both in materials and content. In talking about the effect of a thing, rather than the thing itself, there’s a greater capacity for poetry and an organic meaning to occur, rather than a didactic, sort of one-to-one logic.
The pieces in which I’m manipulating posters of cultural heroes, the figure is generally obscured by brushstrokes and paint splatter. The brushstroke in these pieces represents an almost meaningless, unconscious action. An aggregate of these actions make up a painting that has a specific hierarchy and purpose but taken on it’s own, it becomes more of a void or an accident, a remainder of another, purposeful action. I’m cutting the brushstroke into the paper and this removal of the photographic layer of the poster creates another level of meaning for me. The finished piece has no actual paint, just the memory of that thing, documented.
I’m interested in the relationship between this calcified mark making and the intellectual and emotional capacity of the figure; the point at which a poster ceases to be, say, Muhammad Ali and the physical reality of the material takes over. I’ve thought a lot about Rauschenberg’s Erased DeKooning: at a certain point, that piece ceases to be about erasure as eliminating previous meaning and becomes a unique piece created by positive, assertive mark-making.
C & P: How are the materials chosen for these new works? Talk a little bit about the addition of color, which I believe is a choice you made over time, correct?
Aaron: I’m using mostly quotidian materials right now, book pages and posters. These things have a transitory quality physically, they’re almost non-objects. They do however carry a huge conceptual and emotional capacity. I’m intrigued by the space between the physical reality of a thing and the intellectual or emotional capacity that thing has the potential to evoke. A poster, for example, is a carrier of identity, politics, culture, etc. but the physical fact of that thing is that it’s a frail piece of paper that’s cheaply produced and disseminated.
Color often exists for me in a pretty organic way. There’s a drive that I have in the studio that is largely conceptual but I have an equal ambition to make something that is visually compelling and color often fits into the latter category. Things gain meaning if they’ve hung around the studio long enough and I’ve learned to trust that impulse, even if I can’t really put my finger on why it’s there yet.
Untitled (Ali 2), 2011
Two Opposing Views in 133 Parts (detail), installation at the Portland ICA
C & P: You exhibited a work last summer called Alone: Two Views in 113 Parts. The installation is visually linear in much the same way software film and music editing appears on screen. Is this a direct influence of your work in film?
Aaron: I think it probably is, though that didn’t occur to me until much later. That piece was partially influenced by wall friezes done by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and the way that work was unique to the architecture in which it existed. I liked the idea that the viewer would be physically committed to the piece, that they would have to walk from one end to the other to get the full meaning (it’s about 90 feet long). The text in the piece is essentially linear; it can be read from left to right but aside from the text, there are other layers of meaning that occur. I wanted to confound that linearity by gradually making the text unreadable and creating a context where one would have to refer to the middle, beginning or get a total view to get a richer idea of the piece.
C & P: Talk about the choice in this piece of merging the Columbine killers handwriting with a poem by Edgar Allen Poe.
Aaron: This piece has changed over time and it’s meaning has shifted a bit for me. I began the piece thinking about visual shorthands, culturally held assumptions about inherited knowledge from books and photography. The piece is comprised of 113, cut book pages. The pages are idealized photographs of nature, beginning with very close, first person perspective to distant galaxies. These images are practically authorless and begin to take on a larger, cultural meaning of formless notions, like say, god or transcendence. Galaxies for example, as depicted in print, don’t have much relation to how those things really exist and they start to take on broader, mythical meanings.
I think there’s a certain violence in that piece having to do with futility and disaffection. The poem, Alone, isn’t the most subtle poem in the world and there’s an almost desperate nature to it. I wanted to imprint the text with personal meaning, using the handwriting of someone who was involved in an act that was largely based on ideas of loneliness and disaffection. Ultimately, I think there’s an implication in the piece that as the imagery expands outward, the text expands inward at the same velocity.
Untitled (Miles), 2011
C & P: Horror in film has had a large influence on your work and fear seems to be an element you explore in both your studio work and your films. Part of the rush of watching horror films is confronting that base fear, that point of confrontation. Is this how you view the art making process, or your practice in particular? Or both?
Aaron: My love of horror films goes back to my childhood. I watched films that I was probably too young to see at the time and some of these films, like The Exorcist and John Carpenter’s version of The Thing (among many others) left a serious impression on me. This interest definitely influences my studio practice, but in indirect ways, I think. I’m attracted to a certain idea of fear, in the way that experiencing something new can evoke fear. Also, creating things in the studio can carry with it a certain violence. Destruction and death have always been important parts of my process. I try to have the courage to be able to destroy something in order to build it better.
Untitled (Yellow and Red), 2011
C & P: In your film A Man Born Blind Who is Being Told About a Rainbow, you flip through pages of books to show specific artists. Why did you choose these artists? Describe the connection to the footage from your studio.
Aaron: Most of my pieces start off pretty organically and that part began as a sort of curated show of artists that I own books of. I just started taking these books off my shelves and photographing certain images, editing them down until I got to what I thought was a somewhat coherent group. As it progressed, I noticed that there was a theme of creation and destruction developing and that became interesting to me, as these are two equal creative impulses for me in the studio. The piece begins with images of Frank Auerbach, (for me, the epitome of painterly logic) and progresses through images of futuristic optimism and destruction which are depicted in floating cities and homemade bombs. There’s a homemade atom bomb near the end.
The other part of the piece is a long tracking shot of all of the detritus from my studio. It’s a row of remnants of materials that were used to build art pieces: scrap wood, plexiglass, paint, things like that. Negative spaces. I wanted to take these negative spaces and make something from them, to prioritize them. The final shot is of two of these scraps, one on top of the other, signifying the most rudimentary form of creative impulse. It’s the moment when nothing becomes something, the beginning of the studio process.
C & P: I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the filmmakers you’ve edited into your work, as well as how you selected the music.
Aaron: The clips that I use in my video pieces are chosen largely for narrative reasons, although I do have a great love for Tarkovsky and his films figure pretty highly in some of my pieces. I’ve used clips from his films and I’ve borrowed certain themes from his work. For the piece we just discussed, the long tracking shot was based on a scene from the film Stalker in which he depicts an array of culturally important objects underneath water. The turning of pages in art books turns up in a few of his films as well.
The music in my videos is chosen for a couple of reasons. Again, I’m appropriating Tarkovsky, who utilized baroque pieces in his films. My other motivation for choosing particular pieces is that I find video to be a difficult medium as far as audience is concerned. Asking six or seven minutes of someone’s time in a gallery setting is a lot to expect and I wanted to use pieces of music that have an emotional pull, something that would make the viewer stay for more than a few seconds to watch the entirety of the piece unfold.
Untitled (Alps), 2012
C & P: How much of your 3D work is constructed for film only? How much makes to the point of sculpture and installation?
Aaron: So far, all for the constructs in my videos is for specific, film use only. Of course, connections exist between pieces so something that’s used for a film might turn up in another form in the studio at some point.
C & P: Since you’ve undertaken these new concepts in your practice, what conclusions have you drawn? Or are you not at a point of conclusion, but rather in the middle, or even just beginning?
Aaron: A lot of it has to do with trust. I’ve had to learn to re-format my studio practice and trust that there would be something of value at the other end. As far as where I am, I always feel like I’m just about at the beginning.