The artists have made a series of new works which will be shown with other works by Fitch and a selection of Trecartin's most recent body of oevre, Any Ever (2009-2010). The artists source items for their sculptures just as they do for the sets of Trecartin's movies, through analytical shopping excursions to department, design and home improvement stores. Their central theme is an absurd look at today's consumer society.
MAMA's first exhibition of 2012 is by artists Lizzie Fitch (US, 1981) and Ryan Trecartin (US, 1981). Together with Rhett LaRue (US, 1982) they have made a series of new works especially for this exhibition, which will be shown with other works by Fitch and a selection of Trecartin's most recent body of work, Any Ever (2009-2010).
The artists source items for their sculptures just as they do for the sets of Trecartin's movies, through analytical shopping excursions to department, design and home improvement stores. They approach shopping as an expedition for the linguistic values of goods, which are codified by where they are grouped in the store, how they are merchandised, and what they are called, or, literally, what they are.
The idea of the literal is often pushed to absurd limits effectively as a means of abstraction. Utilizing material purchases as words, Fitch and Trecartin compound them, play games with their sounds and meanings and construct them into directed strings akin to sentences. They manipulate these furnishings, tools, construction materials, articles of clothing, etc. and reconstitute them as precariously balanced tableaux. The distinct outline of a figure is often elided, however there is usually the presence of a protagonist in the work, rendered through an associative sequence of formal juxtapositions that is left to the viewer to read.
Loose narratives concerning exercise, parenting, travel, shopping, and other modes of aspirational creative expression are mediated by brands and products appropriated from the niche fringes of consumer culture (sometimes of dubious utilitarian value), mixed with ordinary items imbued with a simple purity that is derived from the fact that their forms are dictated by timeless functions. The process by which things mediate ideas in these works constitutes a conceptual frame around the sculptures which sets into view the extra-dimensional conditions of time and potentiality that are essential components of reading a mediated world.
Over their ten years of collaboration, Fitch and Trecartin have developed synchronic languages that shuffle through multiple, fluid registers: a sculpture that functions as set, prop, relic, decoration; a movie conceived as a movie and as something to be shared socially as a container to hold other artworks. Here, Trecartin's videos from Any Ever provide a context for their three-dimensional works that emphasizes how the artists's interwoven practices frequently embed themselves in one another.
An exhibition of Fitch and Trecartin is important for numerous — but two very important — reasons. First, their work is exemplary of MAMA's policy themes of 'Trashiness' and 'Culture of Darkness,' in which MAMA researches how commodification and a new standard of norms and values settle in general culture in an almost heedless way.
Second, these artists are influential representatives of a generation of artists who consider the creation of new worlds and of a set of values in which other people perform important roles in their own artistic practices. The experience of the visitor is one of the central themes in their work. They often work with other artists that participate in large collaborations between production assistants, consultants and actors.
Lizzie Fitch (USA, 1981) makes sculptures, participates in nearly all aspects of producing Ryan Trecartin's movies, and maintains a transdisciplinary practice rooted in deep collaboration with other artists as well as creative, commercial entities. In the summer of 2011,Fitch worked with the publishing collective DIS Magazine to create an office installation at Invisible-Exports gallery in New York. The actual use of the spaces catalyzed its formal and functional qualities equally. In 2010 Fitch collaborated with the fashion designer TELFAR to create a presentation for his Spring 2011 collection in New York which similar functioned both as a showroom and an autonomous sculptural installation.
Ryan Trecartin (USA, 1981) writes, directs, and edits movies that explore themes of identity, consumerism, language and technology. Since his sudden emergence at the 2006 Whitney Biennial with A Family Finds Entertainment (2004), his distinct voice in contemporary art has inspired a broad, intergenerational range of cultural consumers. Subsequent projects such as the feature length I-Be Area (2007) and seven-part Any Ever (2009–2010) cemented this influence through darkly jubilant and frenetic formal experimentations that pushed the boundaries of narrative and montage. His materialist control of English reflects recent shifts in technology and culture, just as his modes of presentation developed with Fitch extend the themes and logics of his onscreen worlds to the sculptural theaters that house them.
During the build-up of Showroom MAMA's exhibitions, its windows are used for the Raamproject (Window Project). Art academy students and other aspiring creatives are given the opportunity to make a display for MAMA's windows. This time, students from the Willem de Kooning will provide the setting for Raamproject X.
With a large collage work, seven final year Fine Art students lift the veil on MAMA's upcoming exhibition: Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Tercartin, starting January 21, 2012. Central to the work of both Trecartin and Fitch is an absurd look at today's consumer society. This can be seen in their crowded and chaotic films, where they regularly appear alongside many actors. Their work is grand, eccentric and theatrical, and provides the viewer with an all-embracing image.
With this as inspiration, the students looked at the same sort of bizarre individuals Trecartin and Fitch point their cameras at. Using their characters as a starting point, the showroom's windows shall be transformed into an abnormal family residence. The result: an exciting and bold work of art.
The participating Rookie for Raamproject X is Jaleel-Roy Lindsey, who provided the link to the Willem de Kooning Academy, and has worked with fellow students for this group exhibition. In addition to creating his own work, he is also responsible for bringing together the different works, styles and techniques.
With contributions by:
André-Olivier Martin ('86, Willemstad, AN), Iryna Berezhko ('79, Izmayil, UA), Jacky Hijstek ('87, Zwijndrecht), Jaleel-roy Lindsey ('83, Paramaribo, SR), Jules Calis ('85, Nijmegen), Kirsten Peerdeman ('91, Alkmaar), Wai Seu Chan ('85, Oostburg)
Curated by: Jaleel-Roy Lindsey ('83, Paramaribo, SR), Emma van Wolferen ('90, Groningen)
The project leader is Emma Wolferen ('90, Groningen). She is an intern at Showroom MAMA, and an undergraduate Art History student at Utrecht University.
Supported by: VSB Fonds & SNS Reaal Fonds
Image: Lizzie Fitch & Ryan Trecartin, The Edge, Skinny, 2008
Alyssa Mahler firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: 20 January 2012 19:00-23:00,
Witte de Withstraat 29-31, 3012 BL, Rotterdam
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