Los Angeles-based artist Fiona Connor remakes overlooked everyday objects, including bulletin boards, park benches, community noticeboards, doors of closed down clubs, real estate signs, municipal water fountains, and so on. She is interested in where these objects come from, what they are made out of, who makes them and for whom, as well as the relationships that the artist initiates and maintains in order to reproduce and re-present the objects as works of art.
For her new commission at SculptureCenter, Connor is producing a set of intersecting works that bring together the artist’s investment in the various operations of sculpture in an expansive field of production, maintenance, and display. In the gallery, she shows a number of bronze pieces that replicate tools required to install an exhibition, such as a measuring tape, a paint tray, a dolly, and scraps of cardboard. Nearby in an apartment in Long Island City, the artist arranges for an annual window cleaning, in perpetuity.
Later in the course of the exhibition, Connor convenes a series of workshops, using pulped institutional printed material to make a set of catalog-sized blocks that will function as the exhibition’s publication.
While Connor’s works invoke and refer to art historical means and methods, they are processed through her investment in the elasticity of sculpture in a field that expands and contracts given the various conditions that produce the work. These include not only multiple sites, such as the studio, the workshop, the foundry, the institution, and the library, but also multiple sets of relations and modes of labor: contractual, industrial, emotional, and otherwise.
Connor’s artwork points in multiple directions—the bronze objects may evoke a material perpetuity, while the window cleaning raises questions of how such an activity could be perpetuated indefinitely: what if the building is torn down, what if the building is sold, what are the material limits of this apparently immaterial work? Closed for installation, Fiona Connor, SculptureCenter, #4 emerges and dissolves within the agreed upon rules and edges of exhibition making: the expectation that everything must be cleaned up before the opening, that the work is primarily in the gallery for the general public to see, that photography is essential to document a show, or that the gallery must be returned to the condition in which it was found.
The networked reading of art that examines the artwork within a social field often prioritizes sets of relations that primarily contribute to evaluation of the work of art and the status of the artist. Connor, while acknowledging this sphere of art’s circulation and interpretive framework, further emphasizes the aesthetics of other contiguous relations without which the work cannot be created. Connor’s practice remains specific to a place and time, and also to the nearby, the slightly out of the way, before and after the installation.