Oliver Laric

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Oliver Laric

at AR/GE Kunst

“Working mainly in the media of sculpture and video, his practice addresses questions concerning how images are appropriated, interpreted, translated and re-circulated in a number of possible versions or iterations. 
His interest in iconic images, which he extracts from contemporary culture and mythology alike, derives from an attentiveness to the creation and fluctuation of their value and power; a value no longer determined by any uniqueness or truth in the images themselves, but by the collective and often anonymous dynamics that, through distribution, transform them into icons. In this exhibition at ar/ge kunst Laric’s research develops in two complementary directions. These consider anthropomorphism, shape-shifting and forms of hybridization as ways of exploring the relationship of reciprocity and continuity between the human figure and other agents, be they animals or objects; a subject spanning religion, science, folklore, popular and sub-cultures. A new version of the Hunter and His Dog Relief (2014) is presented as a series of bas-reliefs: three copies of the same sculpture by John Gibson (1838), 3D-scanned and hand-cast by Laric himself. The choice of this particular subject, an everyday scene in which Gibson portrayed a boy holding his dog by its collar, derives meaning from its mode of representation, which sets the human figure in a dualistic relationship with the dog. While Laric takes the white marble of Gibson’s detailed neoclassical sculpture as his starting point, he employs a different technique and a different material so as to transform the relationship between the two figures. The man’s former control over the dog becomes a continuity between two bodies, two subjectivities. In his new video Laric further questions this dualistic system of categories (human–animal, human–object, man–woman…), exploring the notion of metamorphosis through a selection of scenes from illustrations and animations from the nineteenth century to the present. As with the sculpture, he chose not to work with the original material and instead commissioned three illustrators to redraw fragments and imagery from Russia, America, Japan and other countries known for their animated films. This act of redrawing isolates, from the original context, the process of shape-shifting so as to visualise the intermediate state of a character’s transformation from one recognisable form to another, a state existing somewhere in-between classifiable states. Laric actively perpetuates this continuous state of ‘becoming’ as a desirable condition that produces a whole range of hybrid subjects freely moving across gender and identities. With a written contribution by Rosi Braidotti. Curated by Emanuele Guidi.”

via Mousse

Vera Kox and Dag Erik Elgin

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Vera Kox and Dag Erik Elgin

Work from Temporary forms and permanent doubts @ Gallerie Opdahl.

Pakui Hardware

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Pakui Hardware

Work from Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker at Jenifer Nails

With their installation Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker at Jenifer Nails in Frankfurt, the collaborative duo Pakui Hardware (Neringa Černiauskaitė and Ugnius Gelguda) closed out a big year that included the solo exhibition, The Metaphysics of the Runner, at 321 Gallery, in Brooklyn, New York, and the Iaspis residency, in Malmö, Sweden. Last month Černiauskaitė, a graduate from Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, and artist Ugnius Gelguda delivered a performance lecture at the Moderna Museet where topics ranged from digital materiality and technological prosthesis to high frequency trading. But don’t worry, if you miss their post-office installation you can see them at KIM? Contemporary Art Center in Riga, Latvia where they open their next show on January 13th.

Shapeshifter, Heartbreaker, is an installation on two levels composed of sculptural work and 3D computer animations that are both abstract and figurative. On the first level Pakui Hardware has designed an office desk using the typical components of a trading floor. However, this is not a work station for individuals; it is for computer aided trading, non-human activities which are approximated in the three channel videos atop desks noticeably lacking keyboards and mice. These activities often occur at an exceedingly fast pace, in the blink of an eye, an expression that lends its name to a video installed on the second floor. There, the blinks of a humanoid form have been accelerated to illustrate how fast the body would have to consciously react if it were operating at the speed of decision making that resulted in the stock market’s ‘flash crash’ of 2010.

via DIS

Wendy White

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Wendy White

Work from her oeuvre.

“At street level, New York is buried beneath a dense, dirty layer of signage and posters, graffiti and stickers, texts and other markings that represent every degree of legibility, legitimacy, and endurance. Heavily trafficked spots take on a life of their own as these elements trace a cycle of accumulation and decay, shouting over one another through the ambient noise. A resident of Manhattan’s Two Bridges (a downtown neighborhood adjacent to the Five Points mythologized in Gangs of New York), Wendy White is exposed to this war of words on a daily basis, and it exercises a continuing influence over her work. “There’s something profound about the relationship between architecture and disembodied marks,” she reflects. “It’s haunting—like a previous tenant.”

Initially a sculptor, by the mid-‘90s, White had moved toward painting. Yet she never neglected the third dimension, and has gone from exhibiting objects alongside her pictures to making the panels themselves more object-like. Increasingly, they also have a “modular” quality, like flat-pack furniture. (“It feels more modern,” she has said, “if things can be broken down and moved.”) White has also incorporated both studio-made and externally fabricated components, again exploiting resources offered by the city. The results are slippery, hybrid creations in which the languages of painting, photography, printmaking, collage, and digital imaging—as well as writing—are fused with the solidity of real-world places and things.

In making her series Fotobilds—parts of which appeared in Pix Vää, the artist’s 2012 solo exhibition at New York’s Leo Koenig, Inc.—White digitally manipulated original photographs of metropolitan sites and then had them printed onto vinyl. She juxtaposed these with painted canvases to arrive at large-scale, multipaneled works in which structural components overlap one another or rest on the gallery floor. Stacked and abutted, these parts also act in concert with one another, even—or especially—when they reproduce the jarring mishmash of their referents. Fotobilds (the German title suggesting, to an English speaker, construction as well as picturing) comes closer than any single-medium work could to a physical, visual, and associative palimpsest of the city itself.

The real locations represented in Fotobilds are also referenced in their titles. El Rocko Lounge, 2012, for example, incorporates a washed-out mirror image of the eponymous bar printed sideways across its upper half, while 197 Madison, 2012, reproduces shots of burgers and sandwiches from a deli at that address, their colors sun-bleached to pale magenta and dirty yellow. The “accidental aesthetic” of the latter is something for which White feels affection, alluding as it does to a human project lost in part to entropy. She is more interested in change than in that which pretends to permanence, limiting the amount of time she spends on any given work in order to maintain an atmosphere of flickering transience. “When I set out to make ‘Fotobilds,’” she remembers, “I’d been poring over the NYC Municipal Archives, thinking about historical photographs versus Instagrams; amateur versus professional; how manipulation of photographs is de rigueur and no one really believes in images anymore. The Archives—real photos of real places and of people now long-dead—felt real to me in a way that painting alone didn’t anymore.”

In the works’ painted portions, gestural marks—airbrushed Twombly-esque scribbles and scrawls—are combined with fragments of “real” text: lettering that almost but never quite adds up to a complete and correct word or words. Initials, abbreviations, and individual letters and numbers drift across hazy fields of color. Other elements interrupt the conversation. In the series Text Constructions, certain letters seem on the verge of breaking free from the rest of the composition, abandoning the rectilinear plane to become dimensional forms in their own right. In Part, 2010, for example, the titular word perches atop a panel, extending from its edge like some sort of linguistic battlement.

White’s interest in language extends beyond her current location and period. While immersed in New York, she has her eye and ear on other sources too. “I thought a lot about Faulkner when I first started using text in my work,” she remarks, “because I’d lived in the South for many years and felt convinced that Northerners had historically underestimated the power and intelligence of the Southern vocal cadence and accent. I wanted to make paintings that were a little manipulative in how much was left unsaid or unwritten. Concrete Poetry as also an influence, at least as a general concept.”

As the latter citation suggests, White also manages to combine allusions to current and historical art with the casual beauty presented by her immediate surroundings. Alongside the aforementioned hints of Twombly, there are borrowings from domestic DIY. And while the gentle spirit of Belgian master Raoul de Keyser seems to haunt their delicate abstract sensibility, so too does the bold look of a children’s toy (see in particular the series 3-Stripes, with its sporty graphic borders). Robert Rauschenberg’s “combines” and “cardboards” and Ellsworth Kelly’s shaped panels are clear influences too.

Yet White’s work is more individual and instinctive than any such spelled-out heritage might suggest. And while maintaining her aesthetic focus, she clearly feels free to experiment by introducing new elements and allowing them to establish their own rhythms. Take, for instance, the series Shatter Ball, in which pale-hued canvases inscribed with the specters of letterforms (they look, characteristically, to have been produced using rough stencils made from lengths of tape) are studded with halved footballs and baseballs surrounded by the starburst patters of what looks like shattered glass—a jokey toy repurposed as sculptural-painterly punctuation.

At the time of writing, White’s next scheduled exhibition is a solo appearance at Maruani & Noirhomme in Brussels. The work for the show evolved, she explains, from a painting in Pix Vää that was inspired by a local building, and addresses “the intersection of Grand and Chrystie Streets—the architecture, the lay of the land, specific businesses, the park, the entrance to the D train.”

“I’m still figuring out the relationship between what happens in the studio,” she concludes, “and what happens on the street.”” – Michael Wilson for New American Paintings, April 2013.

Jeremy August Haik

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Jeremy August Haik

Work from A Unique and Non-Repeatable.

“This chapter is about copies, reproductions, recycled histories, and the poetics of science. More at non-repeatable.com” – Jeremy August Haik

Derek Frech


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Derek Frech

Work from Secure Document at Actual Size.

“Actual Size is pleased to present Secure Document, an exhibition of recent works by Derek Frech, curated by Park Myers. Secure Document consists of three main works in which Frech has established a lexicon of encryption using security measures and mechanisms of information protection. Each work as well as the exhibition in its entirety strips its original content to a point in which the constructs and devices intended to provide security become the content.

Secure Document is comprised of works that seize encryption technologies and alter them symbolically and materially. Works in the exhibition include Encrypted Documents, a series of layered prints in which an appropriated and reformed algorithm used for the encryption of visual information is applied to documents containing redacted information. Only a selection of the prints from this series will be on display, while the additional prints will be housed in a protective case in the gallery. Untitled, a screen-based animation, distorts information to a point of unintelligibility to address the cycles of abstraction that data must undergo in order to be communicated. Tamper Evident is created through a print and removal process on metal in which forms of residue and mark making become physical allusions to digital distortion.

The exhibition restructures the hierarchies of information transmission and reception to direct the viewer to the hidden mechanics of communication. Secure Document focuses on the issues of how supposed authenticated information is understood, and the invisible modifications, mediations and subsequent forms of reception that are involved in visual communication.” – Actual Size

Xavier Cha

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Xavier Cha

Images and video from “Body Drama” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

“New York–based artist Xavier Cha incorporates video and installation in performances that play with multiple perspectives and deferred access, reflecting our fractured contemporary experience. For her new work Body Drama, Cha transforms the gallery into a mysterious setting in which an actor performs while wearing a body-mounted camera. In between performances the resulting footage is projected on the wall, offering viewers two versions of the same experience, both of which center on disorienting psychological and physical space.” – Diana Kamin, the Whitney

Nicolas Moulin

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Nicolas Moulin

Work from Steppterminal.

“Steppterminal was conceived as an ensemble of hybrids between architectural fragment and autonomous sculpture. The series presents a set of ghost structures, without status or future, evoking a perpetual present—that of ruins, or unfinished construction, isolated in its own sovereign failure. Nicolas Moulin’s new piece will be composed of a total of 6 elements, the first two of which appear here. The piece draws from technical principles used in the modular constructions of brutalist architecture from the 1960s and draws particular inspiration from parts of existing buildings, reduced to 1:6 scale, here the IBM Center in La Gaude, designed by Marcel Breuer (Steppterminal 1) and Boston City Hall by Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles (Steppterminal 2).

Exalting the radical and austere expression of raw concrete in buildings used for collective housing, administrative centres, and companies, brutalist architecture developed exponentially during the Trente glorieuses (the thirty-year boom following WWII), as well as during the Cold War. It was presented as the “terminal” expression of a now- extinct great modern utopia, its dying breath. The brutalist aesthetic—once called the “romanticism of the mal foutu (the badly made, or misshapen)” by Le Corbusier—combined a potential vision of the future, whose duty was to respond to the new needs of a mass society, with archaic principles of construction, thus creating a paradoxical image of buildings that seem to have foreseen their own obsolescence. Today unpopular, associated as they are with the aesthetic of the “ugly” and the social divide created by a collective imaginary now influenced by the standard neutrality of the bungalow aesthetic, these buildings convey the asynchronous image of a modernity fallen into disuse, a kind of inter-zone that continues to be traversed and inhabited nevertheless.

By rebuilding these constructions, by having them be contemplated, analysed, and read (one of the founding principles of brutalist architecture being the readability of a building’s structure) as fragments, real-fake simulacra, Nicolas Moulin temporalizes these ghosts, reassigns them a transitory function.

At once outsize model and sculpture bled dry, a potential space drained of its playful dimension, reminiscent of Matta-Clark’s building cuts, Steppterminal recalls these “white elephants”—monuments abandoned mid- construction, never having housed the human activity for which it was intended. Financially too costly, symbolically facing destruction, they remain unproductive monuments, concrete spectres that continue to inhabit the landscape of the living.

For this project, the artist must proceed as engineer, with precision and calculation, taking into account the weight, balance, gravity, and tension between the modules derived from an analogous material, in this case from by- products of concrete blends.

Nicolas Moulin makes present a world that is absent, using this absence and disintegration as the building elements of our current condition. Here, the “aesthetic of disappearance” (Virilio) reaches its ultimate form, and, paradoxically, a quality that is gradually more concrete: ruins as architectural project, as becoming.” – Clara Guislain

Greg Allen

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Greg Allen

Work from Exhibition Space.

“In August 1960, the fledgling NASA launched Echo I, a mirrored spherical balloon, or “satelloon,” 100 feet across, which was inflated 1,000 miles above the earth. Nominally a reflective communications satellite, Echo I’s primary mission was to be visible to the naked eye by the earth’s entire population. Early promoters, including Dr. Wernher von Braun and Manhattan Project alumni, considered it an “American Star” rising “in the West” and images of it in orbit were captured by photographers around the world.

Exhibition Space considers the aesthetic and conceptual implications of photography during the Space Race and its role in our shifting perception of the universe. Echo I’s mission to visually colonize the frontier landscape of space followed an ambitious 10-year effort, completed in 1955, to photograph the entire visible universe. In scientific, conceptual, and technical terms, the 1,870 plates in the National Geographic Society’s Palomar Observatory Sky Survey constitute one of the most advanced photographic projects ever undertaken. The photographs, films, and objects in the exhibition mark the transformation of space from the site of earthbound study to one of scientific, military, political, and cultural production and display.” – Apex Art

Trevor Paglen

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Trevor Paglen

Work from Nonfunctional Satellites.

Developed in collaboration with aerospace engineers, the nonfunctional satellites are space-worthy sculptures designed as small, lightweight satellites that expand to become large, highly reflective structures. Placing one of these objects into low-earth orbit would create a visible “sculpture” in the night sky, visible from the earth below after sunset and before dawn as a bright, slowly moving, flickering star. The sculpture would remain in orbit for several weeks before burning up upon reentry through the atmosphere.
These designs are responses to the question of what aerospace engineering would look like if its methods were decoupled from the corporate and military interests underlying the industry. The nonfunctional satellite recasts the old question of “art for art’s sake” within a different context, asking whether we can imagine something like “aerospace engineering for aerospace engineering’s sake.”