Liam Gillick

29 Apr 2024 – 26 Jul 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Travel Information

  • Casey Kaplan is located at 525 West 21st Street between 10th and 11th avenues
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Casey Kaplan is pleased to present Fact Structures Amount Structures Language Structures, Liam Gillick’s (b. 1964, Aylesbury, UK) tenth solo exhibition with the gallery and the final stage of a three-part series that began in Brussels and Berlin. The exhibitions mark a development in Gillick’s work with a new focus on how advanced production is conceptualized and represented. For Casey Kaplan, Gillick presents new wall-mounted sculptures produced from aluminum T-slot extrusions. In addition, four new LED light structures are installed in the center of the gallery. Each individual work is accompanied by a unique print of a book jacket design. The linear sculptural configurations contend with today’s opaque and fluctuating methods of manufacturing, construction, and communication—their neat geometries seemingly indifferent to our uncertainties.

The internal complexity of prefabricated aluminum T-slot extrusions allows countless applications of their structural adaptability. These lightweight elements are the foundational materials used for construction of advanced automated equipment in the production of complex technologies, ranging from microchips to vaccines. By elevating the seemingly neutral building blocks of ultra-modern production techniques into sculptural abstractions, Gillick separates a foundational material from its expected application to propose new models of representation that focus on the materials that shape our world.

The exhibition’s installation removes the T-slot from the smooth hum of efficient assembly lines. Instead, the structures are organized into five distinct compositions, arranged on the wall in a series of compacted panels and open-ended lines. These condensed configurations defy the unseen substructures of a facility or process—the organs and sinew of a space and its goings-on. Titles like Grey Work Load Allocation or Red Buffer Slot generate vague images of how production processes are planned and managed, without distinguishing a specific protocol or part. Forgoing any identifying details and dispelling illustrations of production methods, Gillick asserts each structure as a pure abstraction, furthering an ongoing interest in the gaps between descriptors and the described. Where in the past the logic of Euclidian geometry could form the universalizing claims of minimalism, today we must contend with endless complexity that evades representation. Drawing on Yuk Hui’s concept of techno-diversity, Gillick suggests we need to develop new models of understanding.

Through color and light, concept is tied to form, as seen in Gillick’s 2023 solo exhibition Filtered Time at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. Soundscapes and colored light projections refracted the culturally resonant site completed in the tenuous Weimar period (1919-1933) through the filter of our present. Gillick’s practice is intertwined and cumulative: the white LED lights and hues of the custom powder-coatings combine to confuse any underlying narrative or purpose by distancing the object from its predictable setting and turning our attention to the building blocks of an alienating present.

The practice of conveying complex ideologies and processes through minimal forms extends through Gillicks development of “neo-Isotypes” that appear on the covers of framed prototype book designs presented in the exhibition as pigment prints paired with each aluminum structure. Gillick’s abstractions are conceptually founded in a pictographic language developed by Marie and Otto Neurath, which they named the acronym: “ISOTYPE” (International System of Typographic Picture Education) in 1935. This language was grounded in simple pictograms, drawn by German Modernist artist Gerd Arntz, intended to express complex data in ways that would be easy to understand. Marie Neurath’s role was that of a “transformer”—the intermediary between historians, economists, other data collectors and the graphic artists involved.

Gillick proposes that as means of production have become progressively complicated and dislocated from the site of consumption, today’s would-be “transformers” are unable to develop representative images, or Isotypes. With his prototype book jacket designs, Gillick positions himself as a new transformer, developing his own complex abstract pictograms – each in search of an evasive procedure to represent. These prototype book jackets point towards a new fiction that will reveal the fractures and contradictions at the heart of our smooth alienating present.

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Liam Gillick


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