On 8 January 2016, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Fifth Avenue location
Lime in the Coconut, an exhibition curated by Piper Marshall of works
by ZAK KITNICK.
I like zooming in and out.
Isolating parts of images, adding duration.
Extending, unpacking, and diluting.
I like a convention that can be applied regardless of content.
- Zak Kitnick, 2015
Zak Kitnick redeploys and transforms objects and tools usually associated with sorting, ordering, and filtering. Screens, shelving, packaging, and taxonomic posters are used to transport meaning and refocus us onto a contemporary rethinking of how information and order have been transformed in our post-industrial, technologically managed lives.
For the exhibition, Lime in the Coconut, the artist gives special attention to two rationales of operation: concentration/dilution and expansion/ contraction. The result is a series of work that utilize metaphors of produce to frustrate modes of production and dissemination.
In one gallery, Kitnick has produced a series of works that transform industrial shelving. Alleviating the form from its function, Kitnick repurposes the shelving, collapsing it flat as if for shipment. The load-bearing surfaces, offered to the viewer as both substrate and storage, reframe a commercial image depicting a green olive branch. These pixilated images note their commercial print origin and emphasize the journey from information to image. Lining the walls, the resulting works are arranged in thirteen permutations. A series of approaches emerge: cuts, crops and enlargements. In their varied organization, these works simultaneously perform and stutter digital flows.
For the other gallery, Kitnick produced new works exploring the possibility of expanding without diluting, and contracting without concentrating.Researching the culture of constructed product shots and organic metaphors, he has focused on the structure of the “blooming onion”, an onion that has been cut into the form of a deep-fried flower. Like the olive branch, the “blooming onion” is a symbol of celebratory decoration made for sharing. A hand-crafted onion never looks as good as its simulation. Heightening this perceptual gap, Kitnick has produced bronzes derived from idealized product shots.
Kitnick is an artist who selects, alters, and arranges images and objects with new operating procedures. The exhibition reveals new approaches that demonstrate the way information rubs against information, images find new surfaces and the real is reconfigured in an age of false starts.
The exhibition, at 745 Fifth Avenue, is view through 27 February 2016. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com
Rodney Graham’s debut exhibition at Lisson Gallery Milan, ‘Più Arte dello Scovolino!’ presents the work of a hypothetical artist lost to history: the pipe cleaner artist. A new body of sculptures and paintings see the Canadian artist in modernist mode, casting himself as the maker of abstract sculptures and paintings that supposedly date from early- to mid-Sixties Italy. So often the chief protagonist in his own art-historically informed tableaux, Graham is simultaneously Renaissance Man and comical persona; his works at once profoundly inter-textual and humorously self-reflexive. Each image layers multiple references and allusions, their sheer decorousness a mine of visual puns and cross-cultural riddles.
For over forty years Graham has pursued a conceptual, multi-disciplinary project that encompasses photography, sculpture, installation, books, film, video, audio and painting to explore past and present possibilities of creativity. Fundamentally a performance artist, Graham’s art proceeds from disguise and digression, through quotation and humour, towards an understanding of place within culture and time.
The works on display at Lisson Gallery Milan evolved out of the props Graham first made for Pipe Cleaner Artist, Amalfi, 1961 (2013), a diptych lightbox which depicts the artist in a rustic, sun-dappled room meditatively knotting pipe cleaners into works of art. Inspiration came from three separate images: a 1930s Man Ray photograph of Jean Cocteau working on a hanging pipe cleaner construction like those he made for his 1930 film, Blood of a Poet; a photo of Asger Jorn in his studio in Albisola taken in 1961; and an image of Lucio Fontana relaxing in the backyard of his Milan studio while apparently playing with pebbles, moving them around on a canvas in front of him. “I wanted,” Graham has said, “to invoke an image of a studio utopia in a period where modernism still seemed to hold possibilities.”
Like Graham’s earlier works made in the guise of the ‘gifted amateur’, which likewise explore the idea of the artist’s studio, the new pipe cleaner pieces are situated on the convergence of ironic distance, serious homage and play, where romance is fleshed out with pragmatism. Graham’s depiction of the artist states: “Like Cocteau he uses pipe cleaners but his art is more informal, his influences more ‘contemporary’: Klein, Fontana, Manzoni. He is probably a northern painter like Jorn (who came to Italy partly for his health, I think) and he is trying to move into three-dimensional work by way of assemblage. An avid scuba diver, his work is influenced by the colourful diversity of Mediterranean coral."
By interpolating new artworks into a prior point in time and absurdly up-ending the logic of production, Graham finds new ways to engage with sculpture and painting, footnoting art history with his own invention.