Monobody: It seems as though the paintings here are presenting a minimal performance of painting and its attendant business of showing. A body producing rectangles and showing them to an audience. They have a lean, stripped-down quality, like something from Beckett's theatre. Let's take a look at the stage directions.
Nobody [enters left]: We have here nothingness and pure difference. Clearly nobody is the monochrome in this particular schema. [Nobody turns to the audience.] The monochrome appears as a universal form because it addresses no one. In presenting nothing, it can represent us all.
Monobody: I cannot abide by the idea of the "monochrome" creating an empty space in the pile of trash the rest of us are producing. No. The universal condition of modernity is the opposite—it is an infinite accumulation of garbage. Trash piling up. The monochrome has long been a component of this pile. The baroque is, and remains, the condition of modern universality.
Nobody: The infinity of which you speak is merely more and more of the same, but it has a limit and a beyond. While the universal may be invaginated, this invagination will always appear as a cut, never an accumulation. You remind us, however, that empty space is the condition of all desire.
Monobody: The silkiness of the gloves. The anonymity provided by the panel. The uniformity of the changing colors as though the entire scene is taking place under shifting colored lights. And what about the implied presentation to come? The opening? When the author hidden behind the panel is revealed? What will happen then? There is a dark seduction in this infinite regress of presentation and representation.
Nobody: To be the object of the gaze is to be de facto represented—an actress and a double. No wonder representation is cast as a degradation of an original and theater associated with the feminine. The monochrome can appear as neuter no longer! The feminized monochrome is represented and doubled, and in the space between the first and second is the body. [Nobody walks behind Monobody.] But do not assume the author has appeared, or that she has anything to reveal. Now that the artist has presented the rectangle, she can use it to represent bodies that are not her own.
Monobody: So the artist is a woman. I won't say I told you so, but…
Nobody: Structured like a stage set apart by curtains or a vagina framed by labia, representation is always already performative. When we leave the gallery, we will still be actresses.
Monobody: That makes sense. Let me get my purse and we'll go.
Nobody played by Colleen Asper. Monobody played by Justin Lieberman.
Colleen Asper (b. in Pennsylvania, 1980) received her MFA from Yale in 2004 and her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002. Recent one and two person exhibitions include K., New York, NY (2015); 7 Dunham, New York, NY (2013); Garden Party/Arts, Brooklyn, NY (2012); Art Production Fund Lab, New York, NY (2010); and Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Art in General, New York, NY (2016); P!, New York, NY (2015); The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2015); Queens Museum, Queens, NY (2015); The Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College, Oceanville, NJ (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2012); and P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, NY (2010). Her work has received numerous reviews by publications that include Artforum, The New York Times, and The New Yorker and she has contributed writing to publications that include Art in America, Lacanian Ink, and Paper Monument.
* Nobody/Monobody will be on view in On Stellar Rays's upstairs gallery