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

Walid Raad

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Walid Raad

Work from The Atlas Group and Scratching on things I could disavow.

“Walid Raad’s first major exhibition in a French museum covers two of his long-term projects: The Atlas Group (1989-2004) and Scratching on Things I could Disavow (2007-ongoing).

The Atlas Group (1989 – 2004) was a project Raad initiated in 1989 – or so his title suggests – and concentrated on the political, social, psychological and aesthetic dimensions of the wars in Lebanon. The Atlas Group (1989 – 2004) comprises an archive of found and created visual, recorded and written documents Raad attributed to historical and imaginary characters. The Atlas Group (1989 – 2004) is also an enquiry into the documentary process itself, into the kinds of facts that can constitute historical narratives.

Since 2007, Walid Raad has been developing another project titled Scratching on things I could disavow. His project in part engages the emergence of new art economies and museums in the Arab world, the increase in the visibility of Arab artists, patrons and collectors, as well as the marked interest expressed by Western countries and institutions in setting up annexes of major western museums (Louvre and Guggenheim) in the Middle East. Moreover and by leaning on Jalal Toufic’s writings, and more specifically his concept of the “The withdrawal of tradition past a surpassing disaster,” Raad also considers the short and long-term material and immaterial effects of the various wars that have consumed the Middle East over the past few decades. Raad’s works address these less visible and traumatic (non-psychological) effects, and their profound impact on tradition.” – Carré d’Art

Jessica Labatte

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Work from her oeuvre 

Jessica is the current artist in residence at Light Work

“Jessica Labatte was born in 1981 in Salt Lake City, UT and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received a MFA and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Labatte’s photographic work is an investigation in the capabilities of space within a two-dimensional frame. Her work contains both sculptural and painterly nuances, however the work from conception is always a photograph. Labatte experiments with large format analog processing techniques, which can give the illusion of digital affects. Yet, her prints have had no digital manipulation, a keystone of her artistic practice. Labatte is represented by Horton Gallery, where she has been featured in a two person exhibition and at Art Brussels. Labatte is currently an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University.” -Light Work

Christian Philipp Müller

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Christian Philipp Müller

Work from his oeuvre.

“When Charles Ephrussi received A Bunch of Asparagus painted by Édouard Manet in 1880, he paid Manet 200 francs more than the 800 francs originally agreed upon — apparently because he was so pleased with the result. Pleased in turn by the unexpected increase in his fee, Manet sent his patron an additional painting of a single stalk of asparagus and noted that this stalk had been missing from the original bundle. As Carol Armstrong writes in her essay “Counter, Mirror, Maid: Some Infra-thin Notes on A Bar at the Folies-Bergère,” what the painter meant is that this small painting would make up the difference and that Ephrussi thus had now received the appropriate amount of asparagus for the amount he had paid.1

Through this “illusionistic substitution” (Armstrong) of painted asparagus for edible asparagus, Manet brought into play an “exchange value” associated with both the form of production and consumption.2 According to Armstrong, however, the insinuated “relative price of vegetables and paintings” raises fundamental questions, namely, whether an illusionary painted bundle of asparagus has a value “unto itself” or whether — relative to the valuation of the “real” bunch of asparagus — it is a matter of a “countable or weighable” articles whose value is produced by the luxuriousness of the represented object and the quality of the color application.3 Thus, Manet’s system of equivalences and substitutions did not aim to create a basis of comparison between reality and illusion, although it did set up analogies between the two on the level of taste, value, and exchange. The material value of an individual stalk of asparagus — determined by the purchase price — only increased through the symbolic relativation of the represented subject.

Over one hundred years later, the bunch of asparagus would become the object of another reflection on the processes of valuation at Hans Haacke’s Manet-Projekt in the exhibition Projekt 74. — Kunst bleibt Kunst which took place in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne on the occasion of the museum’s 150th birthday. On ten panels, Haacke documented the chronological history of collectors who had owned the Bunch of Asparagus, which had been in the museum’s possession since 1967. Each panel showed an owner and included personal information about each one. Thus, we learn that the painter Max Liebermann, barred from working in 1933 due to his Jewish heritage, had owned the still life. Other owners included Hermann J. Abs, Chairman of the purchasing committee of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, who was also the Chairman of the Deutsche Bank.

Through a simple, uncommented listing of dates and facts, Haacke aimed to make visible historical relationships that had been absent in history books. In order to prevent any possible references to the Nazi past of Abs, who had held a leading position in the economic politics of the Third Reich, the directorship of the museum instructed the exhibition curators to remove Haacke’s work from the show” – Sabeth Buchmann, Signs in Abundance

Matt Lipps

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Matt Lipps

Work from his oeuvre

“Matt Lipps recently confessed to me that, during his adolescence, he owned a lifesized poster cutout of the 1990s siren and Melrose Place habitué, Alyssa Milano, which was tacked above the frame of his bed. It was an early intimation of the themes Lipps now examines in his work: the transference of desire onto images of printed media and the need to physically locate them within intimate spaces. It’s an act of totemic association, investing a massdistributed image with the deeply personal. Lipps’s work today involves cutout images – often sourced from discontinued photographic publications – that are first arranged into carefully constructed and lit still lifes, then photographed with a largeformat, analogue camera.

In earlier work – notably from his time as a graduate student under Catherine Lord’s guidance at the University of California, Irvine – Lipps drew heavily upon themes of sexuality, appropriating pictures from gay magazines for use in his pieces. During this period, in which the artist came to grips with his queer identity, his use of pornographic materials followed a sexual bildungsroman common to many – a secretive education gleaned from the pages of lessthanseemly reading material. As with Untitled (blue) (2004) – part of his ‘70s’ series – Lipps constructed miseenscènes that literally transplanted the object of lust into the domestic sphere. Propped up by small dowels and toothpicksized sticks, the cutout eroticized figure is placed atop crests of heaving bed sheets, set against a blue, seemingly nocturnal backdrop, mordantly blurring the lines between the desired and the disembodied.

With his inclusion in the 2009 group show ‘Living History II’ at Marc Selwyn Gallery in Los Angeles, and his 2010 solo exhibition ‘HOME’, at San Francisco’s Jessica Silverman Gallery, Lipps traded the erotic for the domestic. Included in his ‘home’ series, the large photograph Untitled (bar) (2008) is set in his familial living room. Fractured into abutting coloured panes, the suburban location is foregrounded by a jagged, crevicescarred black and white form supported by a sliver of wood. True to his photographic roots, Lipps later told me this shape was taken from an Ansel Adams monograph. In all the images from the series, the disjointed planes of familiar interior scenes juxtaposed with displaced natural forms evoke something akin to the lurking sense of Sigmund Freud’s unheimlich, or ‘uncanny’. For Lipps, the great unknown would seem to begin at home. And it is, perhaps, a personal sense of dislocation that looks to have coloured the artist’s more recent fascination with structures of taxonomy. Lipps’s 2010 show ‘HORIZON/S’ took as its starting point the nowdefunct bimonthly arts publication Horizon, which ran from 1959 to ’89. Among the photographs presented in the series ‘Untitled (Women’s Heads)’ (2010), Lipps arranges a cast of female cutouts, all at various angles of pose – seemingly random women grouped together by their shared gender. Meanwhile, in the panel of six photographs that comprise Untitled (Archive) (2010), a grand assemblage of cutouts, used in the production of the other still lifes, falls somewhere between the sitespecific sculptures of Geoffrey Farmer and Aby Warburg’s search for art historical forms in his Mnemosyne Atlas (1927–29).

Lipps’s current body of work, ‘Library’ (2013–14), continues this interest in the disruption of the archival. Similar to ‘horizon/s’, the current series began with the discovery on an outofprint pub lication, in this case a 17 volume TimeLife series titled The Library of Photography (1970–85). With issues dedicated to topics including ‘Photojournalism’ and ‘Children’, the series intended to present a concise historical and technical overview of the medium. Lipps’s interest, as he explained it to me, lies in the systematicity the series applied to the photographic act and, by extension, to the photograph itself. In Nature (Library) (2013), neatly linedup black and white cutouts of wildlife and geological formations are intermixed with images of analogue cameras being adjusted by disembodied hands. Standing on glass shelves, they are set against a background colour photograph of a cactus, saturated in electric hues of purple and cyan. In many ways, Lipps’s ‘Library’ series photographs recall the portable protomuseums of the late renaissance. Those historic wunderkammers were intended to be symbolic of their owners’ control over the natural world, heralding a nascent enlightenmentera fervour to classify just about everything. However, while for the renaissance collector the cabinets symbolized humanity’s empirical rule over nature, Lipps’s ‘Library’ highlights the subjectivity underlying such claims to universal association. In the age of the collective hashtag, in which disparate images are grouped together by a communally archivehappy zeitgeist, Lipps draws upon narratives which are undoubtedly his own.” – Frieze