jeudi 10 juillet 2008

Standard Sizes (Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York)

Matt Sheridan Smith, Untitled, 2006, Newspapers

commissariat: João Ribas
Avec Ricci Albenda, Kjell Bjorgeengen, Kerstin Brätsch, Martin Creed, Liz Deschenes, Morgan Fisher, Rachel Harrison, Imi Knoebel, Camilla Low, Allan McCollum, Brian OíConnell, Blinky Palermo, Richard Pettibone, Josh Smith, Matt Sheridan Smith, Sturtevant

Standard Sizes surveys a diverse group of artists over several generations whose work resists the notion of art as the product of an expressive subject - the radically individuated self largely equated with the figure of the artist. In place of this vestige of Renaissance self-fashioning and the affectations of Romanticism, the exhibition presents works that look to standards and formal procedures to displace the idea of expressive subjectivity as the domain of art. If the figure of the visionary artist was once emblematic of the emancipatory idea of the 'individual', in a society where it had not yet fully emerged, this notion is deradicalized by the democratization of subjective expression today. As a result of this abiding 'selfness,' it seems more pressing to understand the structures and standards built into the parameters of ëexpressioní and the production of meaning itself. By foregrounding an effect, rather than the affect, of meaning, Standard Sizes looks to practices that solicit content from standards or procedural form, cede subjective control through generative systems, or that elicit meaning from iteration, standardization, or repetition. Ranging from work based on standard formats and materials, to the rhetorical use of tropes such as the expressive brushstroke, the works in the exhibition looks to the implicit, if now obscured, values and norms present in standardized form. This is to evince how frames dictate content, how the values assimilated in standards belie whose feet and fingers are measured to arrive at consensus, and to discover meaning by way of slippages in the process of standardization. Standard Sizes takes its departure from Pierre Menard's line-by-line rewriting of Don Quixote; the standardization of canvas sizes in the French Academy; the Kuleshov effectís suggestion of affect from juxtaposition; Duchamp's 3 Standard Stoppages; CMYK color; imperial units of measurement; lorem ipsum text, based on a dark passage from Cicero; standard paper sizes; modernism as a rhetorical vernacular; stochastic music and seriality; cinematic aspect ratios; T.S. Eliotís poetics of 'impersonality'; generative algorithms; as well as the possibility of meaning in the difference produced by repetition.

T.J. Carlin:
As the discrepancy grows between the exponential amount of information in the world (including art) and our ability to absorb it, it’s become necessary to invent new ways of framing ideas and considering them afresh. “Standard Sizes,” organized by João Ribas, does just that. Billed as a group show of works that avoid personal expression, the exhibition contextualizes the pieces in such a way that almost all of them exert an undeniable pull. As the title suggests, the 16 artists here have limited themselves in one way or another by a process of standardization. The majority of the works are overwhelmingly formal, and some of them would be unremarkable on their own, were it not for a setting that makes them shimmer with meaning. Matt Sheridan Smith’s rather flatly executed geometric canvases, for example, take their form from technical paper sizes but also nod to Josef Albers’s system of color. They have a particularly elegant (and art-historical) conversation with Josh Smith’s small works across the room, which look like oil palettes mounted on the wall. Kerstin Brätsch’s copper shelf units are laden with photocopied booklets featuring pictures of vacation getaways, reproduced in various colors. Color is key to many of the contributions, which could be why you might find yourself scrutinizing these groupings for relationships. “Standard Sizes” offers a mash-up of processes stripped bare while maintaining the residue of human experience, making the objects in it seem refreshing.

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