16/05/2008 > 12/07/2008
Opening on 16/05/2008, from 7 pm to 9 pm
The Other Way Around addresses art as artifice through works that push spectators to accept, and even invent, fictions to match their initial perceptions. Yet though they might or enchant, they are by nature revelatory: the works emerge through the dismantling of their own illusions. The Other Way Around thus aligns disenchantment with discovery, penetrating the fissures between history and memory, truth and fiction, and evidence and perception that mark the aesthetic experience.
The title of an exhibition is one such fissure. (Title Work #372), from BRÜGGEMANN's series Show Titles (a heterogeneous list of titles freely available for use, which only require that the BRÜGGEMANN is credited on the list of artists), here transforms the exhibition's most trivially public element into an artwork. Like his neon I Can't Explain and I Won't Even Try, the artwork pre-empts any search for meaning, performing a disappearing act into itself and into the conventions of art spectatorship.
Similarly inexplicable at first view, Damien ROACH's Mobil (2007) seems to be a collection of sundry desk items arrayed on a shelf. Seen from the right angle, however, these objects align to spell out the word 'Mobil' – transforming this musty accumulation into an inexorable composition that demands, paradoxically, the immobility of its viewer. Mobil is accompanied by a second anamorph, Verità (2006), an image from the naturalist colony Monte Verità reflected in a cylinder of mirror card. From an old pair of sneakers in Gumshoe (2008) (at once a literal illustration of their title and a play on the slang term for 'detective') to the recuperated images in his collages (Untitled (Firs) and Untitled, both 2007), slight discrepancies and shifts in language render overfamiliar objects to us anew.
Gianni MOTTI's Levitation (1995) and Entierro #1 (1989) also use the banality of their medium to expose their illusions. These oversize photographs document two 'unbelievable' events – MOTTI's mock funereal, and his levitation at the hands of an illusionist –, turning hoaxes into media events and photographs into evidence, while discrediting both event and evidence with historical fact.
History, actuality and accuracy are also reflected in three works by Jamie SHOVLIN, which take as a point of departure cultural perceptions of America, redoubling social ambiguities with material illusions. Untitled (Comedie) and Untitled (Tragedie), both 2008, are trompe l'oeil drawings that depict reproductions of American artist Jack PIERSON's signage sculptures. Two copies of J.K. GALBRAITH's classic American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power are seemingly abandoned on the floor. Yet only one is real – the other is an oversized plaster cast of the book, another illusory mirror of his transatlantic subject.
In the back room, a single lightbulb strays on the ground, fantastically illuminated. The light in James HOPKIN's Eureka (2006), however, comes not from the bulb but from an empty slide projector, farcically overcompensating for the missing electrical cord while creating a vaguely melancholy transference.
The empty slide projector is inverted by Benoît BROISAT's video montage Diary (2008). A sequence of images from a war scene was re-photographed frame by frame, a different individual holding up each photograph to the camera. The rush of successive shots blurs these identities into one vague silhouette, while the fragmented war images merge into a coherent film strip – an illusion of fluidity at the cost of the human moments that sustained them.