Nicolas Moulin


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


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.”

William Pope.L


William Pope.L

Work from “Gold People Shit In Their Valet” at Catherine Bastide, Brussels.

“Pope.L’s new exhibition at Galerie Catherine Bastide Gold People Shit In Their Valet, titled after one of the new paintings featured in the show, will present five large-scale paintings on canvas and twenty smaller ones on paper closely related to the artist’s Skin Set Drawingsproject (1997-ongoing). The Skin Set projects visual, gestural and aural ambiguity. Skin Set was begun in 1997 with declarative sentences riffing for example on racist affirmations about black people (“Black People Are The Root Of All Evil”) and continues today with various other colors assigned to people and absurd, poetic sentences that are intelligible yet not reducible to a simplistic meaning. The paintings are titled after the text inscribed on them, the larger paintings referencing Gold People and the smaller referencing Gray People. In a short video interview for the Whitney Museum, Pope.L says the Skin Set project was created “to interact with language at the level of the mixed message, where people say two or three things at the same time.” The paintings in Gold People Shit In Their Valet bear slogan-like text that is at times decipherable, and at others obscured by the gestural abstraction of the paint.

Some paintings show words that are clearly decipherable yet unintelligible, such as Gold People Blue Movie. The text is inscribed in pink lettering with light orange and paler pink accents over white paint on the top half and raw canvas on the bottom half, while a blue downward curved line underscores the word “blue” over the white background; a green shapeless brushstroke inside the curve of the “G” accentuates the top half whereas a yellow dot placed where white paint and raw canvas meet on the lower right side balances the composition. The painting’s description indicates that the paint hues being used are “flesh pink and white” on canvas, a nomenclature clearly ignoring the billions of people whose flesh is neither pink nor white – especially Gold People.

Elsewhere are puns that work visually but not aurally. For example, the viewer of Gold People Shit In Their Valet, will recognize “valet” is the visual cousin of “wallet,” but then realize another painting in the series is Gold People Shit In Their Vale. These visual puns, while present in the title, are not clearly legible within the painting; on the contrary, they belong to paintings where the overall effect is closer to gestural abstraction, as is the case with the two other paintings in the Gold People set. The same variations can be observed in the smaller paintings on paper, with Gray People Peonie or Gray People Smell Like The Universe veering toward almost total abstraction. Pope.L states that his “primary interest is the gestural aspect of language as enunciation, as performance, intention and desire.” Here traces of the body’s action on language present in the physical act of painting blur the already ambiguous and absurd message, the humor present in the words often deformed by pictorial gestures.

Additional objects such as Skin Set T-Shirts and Skin Set In A Bottle will be displayed on specifically designed banisters made to interfere with the space and disrupt the visitors’ view. The bottle labels of Skin Set In A Bottle reference the colors of the Belgian flag and sport the mottos “Belgium Are Nice” and “Belgium Are Lice,” revealing Pope.L’s “mischievous way of conflating commodity, language, nation and abstract expressionism into one container.”” –  Catherine Bastide

Johnny Abrahams

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Johnny Abrahams

Work from his oeuvre.

“On first encounter with Abrahams’ work one lets oneself slide comfortably into comparison with known oscillators of our viewing pleasure… Riley, Albers, Vasarely, Stanczack, Biggs and Collings and Cruz Diaz amongst others. There is a continuity of tradition evident, however, with each successive artist having the advantage of hindsight, different circumstance, and the knowledge of a new world, each has brought us a different speed, a new take, aesthetically and conceptually. By setting himself up in broad comparison to these artists, Abrahams ultimately feels encouraged and inspired, like his antecedents, to try to bring something different to the previous practitioners in this space bringing something new to the party.

Abrahams shares with the op artists a focus on making the viewer the subject, emphasizing the effects of one’s movement around it. He is exploring what can be done only with line to the exclusion of the other elements (colour, shape, texture, space, form), and in subsequent series he plans to gradually introduce these individual elements one at a time. This, he anticipates, will likely be a very protracted pursuit evolving over many years.

This exhibition involves works from Abrahams first two Series. Series 1 is an ongoing exploration of the fundamentals of design, testing and pushing the possibilities of the most basic element of design: line. Within the panel, the collections of black and white lines create a strained and dissonant juxtaposition. The termination of many lines along an implied edge creates the impression of many suspended planes interacting with one another above a white background. Approaching a work, a design may appear subtly constructed of two tones or tone gradations, but within a certain distance threshold these reduced elements become vibratory, destabilizing the fixed gaze of the eye and generating afterimages of colour as light is broken into its constituent colors due to the interaction of so many dark and light figure-ground relationships.

Series 2 continues to work within the restraints of line to the exclusion of other design elements, focusing on the interaction of two sets of parallel lines suspended above a white background. Inclining the top set of parallel lines by a few degrees here or there creates an unpredictable phasing and a superimposed pattern of interference emerges, generating organic and natural patterns from the very rigid and limited constituent elements. As the different groups of parallel lines become indistinguishable, the original signals are lost and an alias is generated in its place. The work titled “interference study” is an example of this new direction. In this painting he has essentially created two sets of parallel lines with the top set angled at 5 degrees from the bottom set, the resultant wave patterns being caused by this phasing of lines. If it reminds you of a photograph of a television screen, the same principles are at work.” – Vigo Gallery

Amanda Ross Ho


Amanda Ross-Ho

Work from Who Buries Who at The Approach.

“WHO BURIES WHO is a new installation by Amanda Ross-Ho that demonstrates her vested exploration into photography as an analogue to experience, the archaeology of activity and time as a material. The artist has transformed the gallery into a cryptic tableau, operating as both theatricised photography studio and abstracted crime scene. Employing symmetry, scale shifts and a forensic gaze, she creates an environment reminiscent of sites of production, examination and dramatisation.
The central work in the installation, THE UNSUB, is based on a found image mined from a vintage text used to describe the effects of light on objects for the purpose of interior decorating. In the source, a single mask is composited into the same picture plane 8 times using different lighting effects, producing a chorus of faces betraying simultaneous timestamps like a sundial. Like phases of the moon, or incremental nuances between Comedy and Tragedy, the confrontational gaze of the masks presents a dramatized diagram of universal structures. Produced to the exact proportions of the page in the original text, painted canvas provides a backdrop for the masks which are enlarged as individual photographs and a pair of photo umbrellas on stands frame the scene, suggesting a moment of capture. Photographic umbrellas are a tool used to direct light onto a subject, sculpting it for pictorial effect. Here, the umbrellas are stripped of their utility, operating as props and signifiers of a photographic condition, invisibly pantomiming the lighting effects taking place in the photos. The word unsub, short for Unknown Subject, is a term used to describe a person of interest in the context of criminality. Here, the term could also refer to the self-consciousness of the tableau as photographic subject.

On the direct opposite side of the gallery, TWIN REFLEX (DOUBLE TRAGEDY) acts as photographer in the production tableau created by THE UNSUB. This doubled found image illustrates the stereotypical pitfall in amateur photography of allowing the finger to obscure the lens. Here, the camera also obscures the face, creating another mask. The aperture that has captured the staged photograph, remains silently on the other side of the image, in the realm of the viewer.
Through shifts in scale, an anatomical intimacy with form is demonstrated and the sensation of a ‘close up’ is produced, heightening a viewer’s awareness of their gaze as an optical apparatus.

Various other pairings teeter throughout the installation. A massive pair of upscaled blue nitrile gloves–native to both studio environment and the space of examination– suggest undisclosed rigorous activity. Large-scale hair bands and bobby pins scattered on the floor refer to the 0 and 1’s of binary language, representing a relationship between opposites and a constant flow of information and data. Replicas of used X-Acto blades suggest surgical precision now inert and dulled through activity. A pair of upscaled crystal glasses filled with simulated iced wine evokes the duality of a conversation in progress and act as a timepiece—the paused melting of ice suggesting the perpetrators of such a discussion have freshly left the scene.

The title WHO BURIES WHO is appropriated from Harry Nilsson’s track “Down by the Sea”, made in collaboration with John Lennon in 1974. The song woozily describes a couple who have sold it all and escaped to seaside retirement after a long full life, taking stock of their remaining responsibilities…

“…And now the big question is ‘Was it all worth it?’ and ‘Who buries who?’ You bury me or I bury you?…”
Linguistically, WHO BURIES WHO is a core sample of a never-ending pattern, a looping question and a philosophical moebius. Like this bombastic query of finality, this exhibition investigates the questions and artifacts that time itself presents.” – The Approach

via Contemporary Art Daily

Matt Borruso


Matt Borruso

Work from House of Wax.

Steven Wolf Fine Arts presents Wax House of Wax, an exhibition of new work by San Francisco based artist Matt Borruso. The sculptures, collages, prints and paintings Borruso has constructed for this exhibition gather numerous disparate elements to form an uncanny personal universe.

In the main space, slabs of polished burl are paired with plastic reproductions of ears, candles and scythes. These precarious arrangements are supported by chipboard table bases and Plexiglas tubes. Surrounding them are images of the fantastic and domestic: macramé pot hangers, latex monster film props, feather boas, chrome furniture. Pages from how-to photography books and European cooking magazines have been incised and effaced, while posters bearing the devotion and abuse of past fans have been reoriented, their figures redacted and their seams amplified.

In the second room numerous objects are set on a single table: some found, others have been mechanically cast in black wax. Magazines lay open, the two-dimensional images on their pages sliced apart and remade as sculptural components. Replicated in mirrors, their display is both vertical and horizontal, drooping and laid out flat. Finally they enter the reaching non-space of multiplied reflections.” – Steven Wolf Fine Arts

Peter Puklus

The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior
The Epic Love Story of a Warrior

Peter Puklus

Work from The Epic Love Story of a Warrior.

“Seems like sculpture-based photography but with the human body and soul in the center; this is what my new and ongoing project, ‘The Epic Love Story of a Warrior’ is about: a fictional family story in Central Europe during the 20th century. An associative voyage through our commonly shared history: we used to celebrate the pain, suffer and tears. The story happens in a book form again while mixing up different genres and techniques and make them to relate to each other.” – Peter Puklus

Aram Bartholl

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Aram Bartholl

Work from Hurt me Plenty @ DAM Gallery.

Nick Hay


Nick Hay