Untitled Group ShowMerlin Carpenter, Keith Edmier, Michael Krebber, Paul Myoda, Jorge Pardo, Gary Simmons, Rirkrit Tiravanija
April 2 – 23, 1994
Opening reception: 2 April, 5 - 7 pm
The seven artists in this exhibition organized by Friedrich Petzel were brought together because of an interest in how their very distinctive approaches pose similar questions about the functions of art today. The expectations from art are enormously high in our society and among artists themselves. This pressure on artists is most recently reflected in more and more technically elaborate and amazing works of art that are often obsessed with the significance of referential details. The seven artists in Untitled Group Show shun this option. It seems that only formal and intellectual conviction and confidence in exploring complex concepts allows them to develop narrative structures beyond the spectacle. None of these artists gives a hint of being confined to a particular medium. They are committed to use any effective means and methods that serve their choices.
In 1993, Gary Simmons introduced paintings and photographs at Metro Pictures which related to outdoor stage settings in Brooklyn and Harlem. For this group show Simmons installs drawings derived from comic characters of his invention which he has erased to near abstraction. The German painter Michael Krebber marks an exaggerated position with his esthetic connoisseurship of post-abstract conceptual painting that doesn't even attempt to establish further justification. Complementary to that, Jorge Pardo's huge diptych represents the exact copy of the wall next door to his house in Pasadena. Pardo's work is often derived from his individual living conditions that collide with pre-existing esthetic conditions under which we look at art. Pardo's indifferent practice questions arbitrary modes of professional art explanation, such as authorship, originality and artistic satisfaction.
Keith Edmier's sculpture Young Woman is a project that reaches back to the time when the artist was an idealistic 17-year-old boy. In 1984, Edmier wanted to create a monument for hunger in the Third World. As his attempt to generate a successful form to express his concerns failed, he merged his own features as a young boy with those of a pregnant young woman. The second part of the piece from 1994 is a baby that is installed in a linear axis with the mother. The work shifts from the immediate experience of revulsion to a conscious reflection of what art can achieve. Rirkrit Tiravanija shows a crate that contains all the remains from his first solo exhibition in New York in 1990. In addition to that, he installs water-coolers in the gallery space and invites the public to relax on stools displayed near the window front. Tiravanija's projects explore the relations between art, language and social practice as he transforms various hard core conceptual ideas into the sphere of leisure and contemplation.
Paul Myoda covers a gallery wall with 90 color photographs of small gargoyles he sculpted. The photos relate to his future film project and sculptures that are concerned with materializations of mythological spirits from the middle ages. Gargoyles were specific expressions of the collective unconsciousness 500 years ago and Myoda wants to re-employ them to investigate the effects of art on society today. Merlin Carpenter has built a porch that creates a barrier between the inside and the outside of the gallery space. This interface is in fact an architectural dummie, constructed to divide the private from the public sphere. Carpenter's piece is loosely related to a group of imaginary street photographs manipulated by the artist on a computer that are currently installed at Petzel Borgmann Gallery. Like the other artists in the show, Carpenter is interested in employing his own work in varying contexts, confident that it will function differently under other circumstances and conditions.
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