Fixed Variable

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Fixed Variable at Hauser and Wirth.

“Hauser & Wirth is pleased to present ‘Fixed Variable’, a group exhibition featuring works by Lucas Blalock, Ethan Greenbaum, John Houck, Matt Keegan, Josh Kolbo, Kate Steciw, Chris Wiley and Letha Wilson.

‘Fixed Variable’ looks at the work of eight artists who explore the tension between the photograph and the object, in light of the new and complex ways that we experience images in contemporary visual culture: mediated by the computer, corrupted by Photoshop, unnoticed and ingrained in the urban landscape.

Through process and play, these artists confront the reductive definition of the photograph as a truth-telling, two-dimensional document. The image is intervened with and acted upon, be it with Photoshop, poured concrete, or a simple crease….” – Hauser and Wirth

Daniel Everett

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Daniel Everett

Work from New Existence.

“Daniel Everett embodies the current technological zeitgeist shared by post dot-com kids, the kids of the dot-com kids, and the relationship we have to our interconnectivity (the internet). His work is jaded, earnest, and self mocking at the same time.” – Beautiful/Decay

BIEN OU BIEN ?

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BIEN OU BIEN ? at MonCHÉRI

Featuring: Gabriele Beveridge, Aline Bouvy, Hamishi Farah, Mike Goldby, Manor Grunewald, Lucy Kim, Torben Ribe, Amanda Ross-Ho, Dominic Samsworth, and Michael Staniak.

“Freedom – as defined by Max Stirner – to be truly such, cannot derive neither depend on a third-party concession. It should be solely the outcome of a self-conquest just as it is exactly for the uniqueness and, finally, for the property.

MonCheri: property. Singular, in this case made with Galerie Valentin and Jeanroch Dard. The uniqueness in question does not emphasize union itself, but rather the strength of the bond that seeks its own high standards.
As a result of its selection, the active principles of «this new property» are different and unusual, and they are oblique to the smooth correlations that develop between the multiple artworks exhibited. These elements aim to move towards the conquest of a new identity.
A unicum that neither embraces luxury nor dislocation, no trendy attitude or too human pastimes.
There is only a strong desire to experiment, without limitations.

So, this is it, the behind-the-scenes of a vibrating greatness, which acts as a unifying vehicle.

For those of you who have not yet taste this «famous praline» or for those who had not done it sufficiently, on the first appointment of YEAH and LOOK WHERE IT GOT US!, here is another chance ready to offer you the new MonCheri in all its shades, as many as those of the works in exhibition. For the moment, and due to issues of suspense, we can only reveal name and ingredients but not the procedure or the quantity.” – MonCHÉRI

DeWain Valentine

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DeWain Valentine

Work from The Sensual Substance of the Sky

“History is not a seamless string of dates that covers everything of significance that happens at a given date: there are plenty of holes and lacunae in the way history is written. From the mid-1940s to the 1970s, critical attention was mostly absorbed by what was happening in and about new York city : a few decades later, one has rediscovered that there were other centers of creative energy and experimentation, just as important as new York, that had fallen off the radars of official Art History. Artistic centers have almost always impacted the way we think about and value art : in the 18th century, it was rome; from the 19th century up until the 1930s, it was Paris; from World War ii until the 1970s, it was new York.

Today, mercifully, the situation is becoming more complex, richer, and, more truthful to the reality — that never followed a linear model. Major American east coast museums, such as MoMA, are paying increasing attention on the l.A. scene, and its vernacular take on Modernism : recently, MoMA acquired a major sculpture by Valentine (Triple Disk Red Metal Flake – Black Edge, 1966) — please note that a sister piece of this sculpture Double Yellow Disk – Red Edge, 1966 is presented today at Almine rech Gallery.

The early historical chasm between the two coasts has led to opening up a more fluid dialogue between the two coasts, as works by new York Minimalists (Judd, Flavin, Jo baer) are seen, at MoMA again, in the context of l.A. ‚light and Space‘ artists, like deWain Valentine, craig Kauffman, John Mccracken (whose work was exhibited at Almine rech Gallery as early as in 1991).

The present exhibition of Valentine‘s work at Almine rech Gallery can be seen in this new historical context, and constitutes another important step in the vast reappraisal of the important artistic force that developed in l.A. in the 1960s, and of Valentine‘s major role there up to now.

The show at Almine rech Gallery, a comprehensive overview, offers a unique opportunity for audiences to delve into Valentine’s work, one of remarkable technical virtuosity and perceptual experience. Spanning across several decades, different and utterly fascinating plastic-based media and technical methods (not traditionally used in Modernist sculpture), deWain Valentine’s production has continually embodied a unique, quintessentially Southern californian aesthetic. He is best known for large-scale, translucent resin cast sculptures in a variety of apparently simple, geometric shapes – that vary none the less greatly from the Minimalist grids and cubes. in short, artists such as Judd and leWitt were concerned to achieve more a mechanical perfection, heightened by an interest in mathematic (or combinatorics). Valentine, on the other hand, was much more interested and excited by physics than by mathematics: his final goal was to endow his sculpture with a perfect gloss, a perfectly smooth ‚finish‘ (which would take weeks and months of arduous physical efforts.) His concerns with surface transparency and translucency, the use of industrial materials and processes, an emphasis on the qualities of prismatic color, and interest in the viewer’s perception and interaction connects him to the so-called light and Space movement from the 1960s and 1970s. Overall, what should be emphasized as a principal and distinctive feature of deWain Valentine‘s art (and his personality) are an unwavering attachment to an aesthetic of pure visual and haptic joy, and to a sensual, and uplifting celebration of outdoor life in the california of the 1960s.

The work of the light and Space artists, who gathered around the fledgling, yet intense, art scene located on the coast of Venice, california, was influenced by the distinctive and unique qualities of the atmospheric landscape of los Angeles, evoked by clarence Thomas urmy, a late 19th century poet from california:

The measurement of time and space, The depth of deepest seas, The distance of the faintest star —

noted for ethereal, luminous or shiny surfaces, the works by these artists not only evoked the Angeleno qualities of bright sunlight, filtered through expansive, foggy skies, but also relentlessly explored the viewer’s perceptual experiences, and the properties of non- traditional, industrial synthetic materials, which became available during those decades due to the booming postwar aerospace and manufacturing industries. According to catherine Grenier, curator of the exhibition Los Angeles 1955-1985. Birth of an Art Capital (centre Georges Pompidou, 2006), “if there is a single vector channeling los Angeles artists as a whole [...] it is the value set on experiment.” Artists included under the umbrella term of the light and Space movement includes Peter Alexander, larry bell, Mary corse, robert irwin, John Mccracken, James Turrell, craig Kauffman or Helen Pashgian, and, of course, deWain Valentine — although it should be said, as often in any group or movement, that few of these artists accept comfortably this label, or any label. Almine rech Gallery‘s history is closely associated with this group, however: it is important to signal that the Gallery opened its first show with James Turrell (this was the first european gallery exhibition Turrell had in november 1989 in Paris); and in 1991, Almine rech Gallery proposed the first exhibition of John Mccracken in Paris.

‘Finish Fetish’ is another category employed to characterize the production of some of these artists, such is the case with deWain Valentine. The term, often used by artist, critic and museum curator John coplans, alludes to the embrace of new industrial technologies, surface slickness, and glossy, attractive colors. This love for the shiny, spruced up quality of the slick surfaces offered a common syntax to these artists, but spoke far more to the ubiquitous Southern california’s surf and automobile culture, than to the search for perfection that characterized east coast Minimalism (conjuring industrial, mass production of geometric structures in perfect line with each other), whereas Valentine‘s surfaces are the result of painstaking physical act of sanding, and polishing an initially rough resin surface into a perfectly glass-like smooth surface.)

deWain Valentine was born in colorado, and arrived in l.A. in 1965 to teach a course in plastics technology at the university of california, los Angeles (uclA). He is regarded today among the earliest pioneers in the use of industrial plastics and resins to execute monumental sculptures that reflect the light and engage the surrounding space through its mesmerizingly translucent surfaces that arrest one‘s gaze. The artist’s first experience with plastics dates back to 1946 during a Junior High School course. He started to experiment with this kind of industrial materials at home – including fiberglass, recently declassified by the united States government after the Second World War – baking, molding and casting them. This technical knowledge, combined with his subsequent experience working with fiberglass-reinforced plastic in boat-building shops and painting automobiles, air planes, — and even, according to some even, uFOs — led to his fascination and artistic involvement with sculptures made out of colored plastic and polyester resin, all materials evoking a futurist era.

Valentine’s technical excellence and inventiveness made him stand out from his contemporaries, namely through his remarkable contribution to the plastics industry. Willing to take risks, in 1966 Valentine carried out some experiments collaborating with a chemical engineer, and developed a new type of modified polyester resin that would enable him to cast monumental objects in a single pour — a technical process that was just unconceivable until then. it was commercialized under the trade name of Valentine MasKat Resin. He thus started to work with this strong, stable and clear resin, creating larger than human-size sculptures that were integral to the architectural setting and functioned as space-modifiers, altering the spectator’s perception of the environment.

On view in the exhibition are both large-scale and smaller size colored sculptures. They range from simple geometrical forms, such as slab columns or solid circles fabricated in cast polyester resin, to brightly spray-painted concave disks made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic. Whichever the format or the color, the artworks, with their smooth, highly-polished translucent surfaces explore the material’s ability to carry and reflect light. Valentine is concerned with the transparent and diffractive qualities of spectral color, whose prismatic break-up effects become evident to the viewer with fluctuating light conditions.

These circular and columnar sculptures often convey a distinctive atmospheric effect: Valentine enjoyed how, by dripping a small volume of ink or liquid color, it would remain almost magically suspended in space, refusing to dilute totally within the mass of liquid resin : Valentine loved these physical ‚accidents‘ : he refers to them as his ‚clouds.‘ indeed, they have an eerie capacity to convey the effect of a cloud in a sky, or the effect of the smog on the atmosphere.

The particular forms of these sculptures are of particular note, as well : columns or prisms tend to be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top, often resulting in something like a thin pyramidical structure. The case of circular sculptures is even more complex : the top is also thinner than the base, but the thinnest part is the center of these disks formed of a double concave circle – a signature form in Valentine‘s repertoire. Their color-scheme varies from dense tones at the thick parts to evanescent tonalities at the thinner areas; his chromatic palette tends to evoke mother-of-pearl, or a condensed summary of the rainbow range of colors. The paler the color is, the stronger the light refraction. Surfaces and color are translucent — although it is easy to miss this particular attribute of Valentine‘s sculpture. As one stand, facing the surface of some of these sculptures, one can gaze through this translucent resin-based substance, as one becomes aware of the inner space and the space beyond it, as if our eyes could enter through and penetrate something that our physical body could never do. in Valentine’s own words: “i am fascinated by the idea of being aware of the outer surface of an object, of seeing through it and of seeing also the inner surface.” This statement also reflects the artist’s concerns with the viewer’s perception and the phenomenological possibilities triggered by his artworks. These awe- inspiring viewing experiences are heightened by the sculptures’ responsiveness to and activation of their environments. Valentine skillfully juxtaposes the literal objecthood with the illusionist effects of atmospheric light, solidified sky, and contained fluid color.

On view as well are examples of Valentine’s most recent paintings. evoking a minimalist language permeated by sensuality, they are nonetheless illusionistic in their suggestion of a painted atmospheric surface and a glowing horizon line, made with acrylic polymer resin.

Valentine’s preoccupation with synthetic new materials and a wide range of visual and optical phenomena impacting the viewer’s perceptual experience places him within the long tradition of artists attempting to address the intangible qualities of atmosphere and light through the intersection of technique, science and art.” - Joachim Pissarro

Valentin Carron

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Valentin Carron

Work from his oeuvre.

“Valentin Carron reproduced objects from his immediate surroundings: symbolically charged objects (sculptures, architectural fragments) taken from the reality of his region and its «landscape». Through the appropriation of cultural emblems or decorative ornaments from the vernacular culture, he questions the meaning of tradition and authenticity, the aesthetic concepts of kitsch and the modern ideal.

«The Valais, where I live and work, is an area that supposedly embodies the romantic, natural and wild character of Switzerland. A country of traditions. But this notion of «tradition» was in fact entirely invented in the late nineteenth century. This then, gave rise to a genuine political will to build a national cultural identity. Gradually, we started to manufacture pseudo-authentic objects. »

The works of Valentin Carron are re-formulated; synthetic materials often predominate over solid materials; sometimes, however, it is the other way around. Valentin is interested in the true-false, the substitute; he redistributes values through his appropriation. Through this play of materials, the highly symbolic and ambiguous meanings of the works are revealed.” - Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels

Federico Acal and Tom Volkaert

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Federico Acal and Tom Volkaert

Work from I sang, and thought I sang very well; but he just looked up into my face with a very quizzical expression at Hole Of The Fox.

“We communicate, we navigate. We walk on the streets and see quizzical expressions. We smile back. We are just figures in the networks. Facebook has gone mad. We need to relax. We are voracious and mostly use our phones to talk, but we abbreviate, we like it brief. We live in a sudden rush and spend our days restlessly, from couch to couch. Sundays don’t exist anymore. We try to be dynamic, to adapt.

We are returning objects. We detour and go in roundabouts. We need a fearless action. The world needs fearless actions. Now we photoshop, but the mistakes still show. Touch-ups are for later.
A world is a festival of choices, a catalogue of forms.

A world is in your hands. We play with it. We like it and that’s why we do it.

There are fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. They have facial features and smile at us. We are lucky. We feel very lucky, but we don’t like to talk face to face. We are experiencing it. We look for definitions, Wikipedia is sufficient. These are the rules but we need to unwind and loosen up because it’s handy for us. We keep it simple, we let it go.

We move, but don’t change space. We like textures, patterns and floors. Chairs and tables transform. The clay is only drying. There is no theme. We are off topic. We are looking for motivation. When we find some, we’ll let you know.

There are no posters in the space. The Poster Show is, itself, a poster. Eye-catching and information. We like words, we like colours. A table becomes an exhibition bench. A bench becomes a boomerang. Shelves don’t need to contain things; they stand by their own, don’t support theories. Laser cut figures come along with a video. No need to edit it, we are communicating.

From the other side of the street we keep looking at the glass. Moving letters try to composite an image. Don’t pretend. It’s a vague image. No time to loose, ‘cause it’s coming our way. It pops up.

We meet with friends. We laugh, talk and walk around. There are still objects to locate but they slip through our fingers. Too late for touch-ups.” – Hole of the Fox

Anne de Vries, Bastien Aubry, & Dimitri Broquard

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Anne de VriesBastien Aubry, & Dimitri Broquard

Work from FOLKLORE CONTEMPORAIN III @ SWG3 GALLERY

“Folklore Contemporain III is an investigation into the folkloric heritages and the new folklores of the 2010’s, through the practices of Bastien Aubry & Dimitri Broquard, based in Zurich and Anne de Vries, living in Berlin. This show addresses the works of those artists crafting the artefacts of our age with ‘dated techniques’ but contemporary references or contemporary techniques and references from the past. For their first show in Scotland, the three artists will be presenting new body of works.

Anne de Vries has been producing a series of process based portraits sharing as many links with classic anatomical drawings as cutting edge neurology. These five layered photographic collages give access to other human beings’ brain activity. The prints try to capture the incapacity we all face to perceive things instantly resulting in an infinite number of enigmatic narrations.

Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard have made several absurd and squinty pieces of furniture playing freely with notions of craft and design. Made from melamine panels, recalling basic furniture kits and hand made ceramic brackets, the sculptures divert the materials from their usual functionality. Ceramics, which are central in Aubry & Broquard’s practice are no longer simply decorative pieces but are necessary to the structure. Aubry & Broquard offer a new body of hand crafted pieces demonstrating a mastery of the technique and its conceptual stakes.

Folklore Contemporain III creates ties between two very different practices. While the first one refers to craft, the second one uses high technology but both focuses on a certain idea of the network. Interconnexions, links and junctions, are where the three artists meet.

Nowadays, the “curator-folklorist” has to consider vernacular practices such as GIFs, memes, Clipart creations or Photoshop effects as well as traditional “savoir-faire” when examining the current mythos. One never finds time to sleep, already busy dealing with pre-existing fables and customs transmitted by all the previous generations of artists. New forms emerge continuously and collectively. Like mythology, art technique evolves without authorship or copyright.

This show is the third and last show of exhibition series Folklore Contemporain at SWG3 Gallery exploring how contemporary artists draw their inspiration from legends, popular beliefs, customs and traditions of different cultures to appropriate them and create new myths and new crafts. Previous shows in the series included Laura Aldridge & Travess Smalley in 2012 and Aaron Angell & Jack Bilbo in 2013.

Curated by Camille Le Houezec & Joey Villemont (It’s Our Playground)” – O Fluxo

Laura Owens

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Laura Owens

Work from her oeuvre.

“Laura Owens has worked in a dizzying array of styles—from crisp abstraction to moody landscape—delving enthusiastically into genre painting, vernacular pattern, and a kind of japonisme that is all the more potent in an age when decoration is often met with critical suspicion. Untitled shows Owens in full possession of her skills at a moment when her earlier tendencies toward abstraction were beginning to give way to a more figurative and illusionistic sense of space. Simultaneously faux-naïve and stylized, her handling renders the traditional landscape scene with a buzzy organic materiality. The viewer falls easily into the picture’s airy depths, but is constantly reminded that she is viewing an image built stroke by stroke from paint.” – MOCA, Los Angeles

Nicolas Sassoon



Nicolas Sassoon

Work from PANDORA.

“Opening Times: Throughout your Opening Times residency, you’ll be creating new work under the title Pandora. Can you tell us what Pandora is or means to you?

Nicolas Sassoon: Pandora is the name of the street where I’ve been living off and on for the last 4 years. When I first moved here the name of the street stuck with me as a great location for a science fiction plot. The house where I live on Pandora Street is a slightly run-down small suburban home, with a big backyard and a dark basement. I have turned the basement into my studio, which means I have a desk there with my laptop, a dim light and a heater so I don’t freeze during the winter. It’s a great place to work on a computer, I can’t really see the outside world and I lose track of time pretty easily.

When I was first approached to do a residency for Opening Times, the idea of an online residency also stuck with me as a great basis for a science-fiction plot. Usually residencies involve specific sites, where, as an artist, you interact with your surroundings and produce works often based on these interactions. But in the case of Opening Times, the geography of the site isn’t very obvious, since the project is primarily happening online…

I began to inquire about the site of my residency and realised it would be my studio space, and by extension the space of my computer since it is my main work area. Pandora is a project based on this premise. It starts with the
depiction of my studio space and then quickly extends into the duality of the space that I work with on a daily basis. This duality interests me because it is in conflicting opposition in many ways; one space being very concrete and operating within the contingencies of reality, the other space being ethereal and operating within the contingencies of whatever fantasies it can be fed. ” – excerpted from an interview with Opening Times

Frameshift

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Frameshift at Denny Gallery.

There is a gallery talk with useful pictures and some of the artists tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:00pm.

“The six artists in Frameshift collide with and attempt to negotiate the technical image as encoded by the camera. The practices represented occupy the divide between the hand-crafted image historically available and attributable to a visual artist and the technical language with which the photograph systematically attempts to replicate reality line by line. These artists examine a world in which the photographic image records, implicates, and shares every conceivable human action through a network of devices. This vast stream of visual communication offers an ever-increasing number of platforms for identities to take shape through a carefully crafted stream of data originating from the same device. The artists in Frameshift prod and transform existing images and fill the frame of their cameras with invented tableaus to coax out the seams of ideological structures encoded in the technically written network of images.

Frameshift is an investigation into practices that visualize linguistic edits to the technical language of the photographic image while compressing multiple histories of image making and vision technology. The catalyst for this investigation emerged out of the manipulation of a fixed image by literally altering the code. Barry Stone converts the binary data of a digital photograph into a text file, which he then edits, and then converts it back
into a corrupted form of the original image. Stone’s process introduces a genetic copying error that exposes the photograph to evolutionary forces. In another line of inquiry, the fixed technical image becomes a base layer upon which a construction of the self is built in response. Pieter Schoolwerth’s paintings compress multiple attempts to locate the body and identity over an edited photograph or a scan of a human figure, like an attempt to form an identity across multiple networked platforms. Wendy White modifies the real world contextual staging of a photograph and injects it into a system of painting structures as a self-contained object that lives in forced cohabitation with indefinite marks and textual remainders. Lorne Blythe, Erin O’Keefe, and Heather Cleary each appear to accept the fixed technical image on its own terms, but insist on forcing their own complicating system of change through the camera’s pixel sieve. Lorne Blythe creates atypical vision tests in which construction and appropriation methods are simultaneously placed into opposition and made indistinguishable. Heather Cleary decontextualizes mundane objects to create an image embedded with uncertainty through what appears to be a very particular set of instructions of mysterious mathematical or subcultural origin. Erin O’Keefe invents an unbound architectural language by arranging a network of objects and photographic elements for the camera, rendering unreliable spatial relationships into a single plane.

The resulting works from these investigations resist the finality of arrival and perfect replication advertised by the technically produced image. Instead, the course of execution changes due to the insertion of an unanticipated command or a failure to distinguish user input from system commands. In the end, we observe discoloration or informational errors or an awkward amalgam of elements that point to a belief in a process of continual reformation of the photographic image. The evidence presented through these works suggests that the laws that govern our reality are not fixed and that these artists are not merely subject to an all-pervasive technical language, but rather active participants in the continuing construction of a photographic language.

Frameshift is curated by useful pictures, an artist-run investigation into current directions in photographic practice. We focus on artwork created after photography and the internet co-evolved to produce a culture of instant and global image sharing. We highlight artistic practices that consider this torrent of image traffic and actively complicate photographic understandings alongside a networked digital culture.” – useful pictures