Eva la Cour
J. St. Bernard
Larry Aldrich, Mel Ramos
The Happiness of Objects + Christian Tomaszewski
The Happiness of Objects + Christian Tomaszewski
The Happiness of Objects
SculptureCenter is pleased to present The Happiness of Objects, a group exhibition including work by Felipe Arturo, Fia Backström, Andrea Blum, Tom Burr, Valentin Carron, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), Philippe Decrauzat, Flatland (Ward Shelley, Pelle Brage, Eva la Cour, Douglas Paulson, Maria Petschnig, Alex Schweder), Sylvie Fleury, Paul Horn & Harald Hund, Craig Kalpakjian, Allan Kaprow, Jutta Koether, Sol LeWitt, Mended Veil, John Miller, Olivier Mosset, Nils Norman, Amy O'Neill, Mamiko Otsubo, J. St. Bernard, Haim Steinbach, and Lan Tuazon as well as documents by Wim Delvoye, Robert Indiana & Larry Aldrich, Mel Ramos, Annette Tison & Talus Taylor. The Happiness of Objects will be on view April 29–July 29, 2007 with an opening reception on Sunday, April 29, 4–6 pm.
The Happiness of Objects embraces W.J.T. Mitchell's invitation to consider the possibility that objects have their own desires (What do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images, 2005). While Mitchell focuses on the relationship between the image or object and the viewer, The Happiness of Objects will attempt to capture what objects want from other objects, from the context of their display to potential response to their presence. This necessarily involves a mixture of formal and subjective concerns such as space, light, proximity, hybridization, and life expectancy. Vitrines will display documents that examine pose and objectification, dimensions of scale, and mimesis.
In attempt to crystallize some of the main points of Mitchell's hypothesis, the exhibition proposes The Object's Bill of Rights, a non-exhaustive and disputable list. It is also a prelude to considering the object as an autonomous subject within a larger society of objects. At a moment when human rights seem negotiable, The Object's Bill of Rights is a satirical proposition albeit with a genuine interest in the formal properties and some of the set of relations that art objects engage with.
Many artists have created site-specific work especially for The Happiness of Objects. Olivier Mosset reclaims SculptureCenter's garage door by transforming it into a thirteen-and-a-half-foot monochrome (Golden Shower, 2007) that temporarily disappears when the door is raised. Mosset continues playing with the dimension of time in Untitled (Toblerone) (1994/2007), a fleeting sculpture composed of ice, which will disappear within a few days of the opening.
Sylvie Fleury reactivates Road Test (1998/2007) by crushing makeup with an American-made car, disrupting conventional gender arbitrations and stereotypes of female hysteria.
Ward Shelley constructs a two-foot-wide, four-story transparent structure titled Flatland (2007) where he and five artists live for twenty days in a nearly two-dimensional space. Flatland is streamed live online, accessible twenty-four hours a day at http://www.flatlandproject.com.
Phillipe Decrauzat masks SculptureCenter's only white wall with a stark, geometric pattern based on the repetition of the Dead Kennedys logo. Decrauzat optically warps a two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object; the title Does the angle between two walls have a happy ending? is appropriated from a 1964 J.G. Ballard magazine insert.
The Happiness of Objects is made possible in part by Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council and with the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.
On Chapels, Caves and Erotic Misery
Since 2004, Christian Tomaszewski has been plunging into the entrails of David Lynch's cult classic Blue Velvet (1986). Tomaszewski has been meticulously reconstructing parts of the film in real space: exploring the ability of architectural fragments to convey dramatic narrative. Tomaszewski is fascinated by the challenge of superimposing one space and structure onto another: the first, artificially woven together through film editing; the second, a totalizing structure defined by the walls and activities of the exhibition space. Both sets of conventions dissolve in their collision, leading to a third reality, which is a thematic structure in itself.
On Chapels, Caves and Erotic Misery also alludes to Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau and the inexhaustible process of its re-creation. The installation keeps growing and changing with each exhibition and venue. Tomaszewski initiated this project with Luxe Gallery in New York City in 2004 and continued to develop it with Gallery Atlas Sztuki in Lodz, Poland in 2005. A full installation was recently shown at Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany in 2006. The project was most recently on view at Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie Regensburg in Germany (January 26-March 18, 2007). Tomaszewski evolves and reorganizes the project with each presentation so that each exhibition creates a new, total environment. Completely transforming the lower level of SculptureCenter, Tomaszewski will develop and present the culminating iteration of On Chapels, Caves and Erotic Misery this summer.
Christian Tomaszewski was born in Gdansk, Poland and lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited at Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (Warsaw), the First Bienniale of Polish Art (Lodz), the Bronx Museum of Art, Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Venice), Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten (Marl), and Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz (Chemnitz) among other places. He has participated in prestigious residency programs with the American Academy in Rome, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City, and received past support from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Polish & Slavic Foundation, and the Mayor of the city of Gdynia, Poland.
On Chapels, Caves and Erotic Misery is made possible in part by Christopher E. Vroom and the Polish Cultural Institute. Christian Tomaszewski's project is presented through SculptureCenter's Artist-in-Residence program, funded by grants from The Kraus Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Image: Sol LeWitt
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