Matt Golden: More Bit Parts in Little Theatres25. Feb - 2. Apr 11 / ended Bischoff/Weiss
Tuesday to Saturday 10am-6pm
Each word seemed to me an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness - Samuel Beckett
In 1973 Lucy R Lippard reflected on the disinheritance of material form in conceptual artistic practices. Golden’s work-to-date could certainly be appreciated within the legacy of Conceptualism, yet his series Six Years in the Bath, subverts the opposition Lippard proposed between form and content. The literal framing of Six years – The Dematerialisation of the Art Object is the remnant of a performative act – a slapstick moment when the artist dropped the text in the bath – and a re-assertion of the physical objecthood of the book. This process, which has been re-enacted in continuation of the series, leaves colourful ink-stains from the bleeding colour of a marker lodged within the book’s pages, reintroducing ‘image’ where it has been refuted, and alluding to the subjective-emotional function of perception in its evocation of Rorschach’s psychological test. The ideas set out by Lippard as text on paper are contaminated by a seemingly decorative pattern, generated by the material property of the thing itself and the accidental intervention of the artist.
Golden’s introduction of chance, or the incidental, positions himself at one remove from the work, a strategy he has deployed previously by performing under a pseudonym, Juan Carlode, in order to disengage creatively from the restraints of his own background. This play on identity continues in the Maverick series – a theatrical gathering of chairs, each a ramshackle composition of partially deconstructed picture frames and painting stretchers. The mise-en-sc&egrave;ne suggests they might be props abandoned after a performance has been played-out, or suspended in anticipation of some drama to come. Here again form takes precedence: the script is missing, imagined in absentia.
As one moves through the installation-scenario, it throws into question the stability of perception, or relative form, playing with our faculty of recognition. The found objects abut each other in the likeness of chairs, yet their resemblance is not generic or arbitrary. Each has a distinct character: a deckchair; an infant’s seat; a piece of Modernist design. Though they masquerade as objects to be sat on, they do not consent to their function (they would collapse) and exist as representations: portraits, whose histories are written in the materiality of their reclaimed structures.
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