The exhibition employs diverse means and tactics, including video installation, sculpture, wall works, and photography, to address the beauty and complexity of human interaction, memory and language. One of the works is composed by two buckets that become stand-ins for the fishermen, and are actually the essence of all that is poignant in the photograph. They are the site of conversation between two people, representing the dynamic exchange that is quite literally “what we live for."
Very Different Things About the Same Thing
A new exhibition by Joseph Grigely. As the show’s title suggests, this exhibition employs diverse means and tactics, including video installation, sculpture, wall works, and photography, to address the beauty and complexity of human interaction, memory and language.
An appropriated newspaper photograph of two men ice fishing, seated on white, plastic buckets succinctly encapsulates the show. Their quote captioned underneath reads “…having conversation, that’s what we live for." Nearby on the gallery floor are two white, upturned, urethane buckets, fabricated by the artist to reproduce those in the photograph. These buckets, seemingly incidental details, become stand-ins for the fishermen, and are actually the essence of all that is poignant in the photograph. They are the site of conversation between two people, representing the dynamic exchange that is quite literally “what we live for."
The bluntness of the buckets contrasts with two baroque, ghostly white sculptures of a fireplace mantel and a chandelier made in collaboration with artist Amy Vogel. Similar to the buckets, each of these sculptures represents a site of conversational exchange - by the fire, around the dining table. On closer inspection, each work is covered in small, climbing, mischievous monkeys, some clutching bottles of wine, and apparently intoxicated. The monkeys illustrate an Edgar Allen Poe short story from 1850 called Hop Frog, which tells the story of a court jester (“…a dwarf and a cripple.") who is ridiculed and tortured by a lazy, hedonist king and his seven courtiers. Hop Frog claims gruesome revenge on his eight tormentors by tricking them into ape costumes, stringing them up on a chandelier and incinerating them.
Remembering Is a Difficult Job, But Somebody Has to Do It is an installation that combines two videos and a series of photographs that play off each other in a way that imbricates the visual and the verbal into a tangle of remembering and misremembering. The axis of the work is the theme song from the television show "Gilligan's Island," which aired for three seasons between 1965-1968. Grigely remakes this song through the voice of his own memories and the memory of his own voice. In the end, the truth that matters is not the truth of the song, but the truth of the imagination.
Joseph Grigely’s next exhibition will be a new film project jointly commissioned by The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and The Orange County Museum of Art in Los Angeles. In addition to a retrospective exhibition last year at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, he has recently been included in museum group shows at The Sculpture Center in New York, the UC Berkeley Art Museum, the Van Abbemusem in Eindhoven, and solo gallery exhibitions in London, Paris and Prague.
This exhibition will remain on view through February 18, 2006.
Image: Untitled Conversations (What else are we alive for?, 2000 Graphite and ink on paper, pins 44 x 142 inches (112 x 360cm)
Opening: January 12
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