Alfredo ACETO, Jack GREER, Benjamin HORNS
The Arcades Project
Exhibition on view until October 11, 2014 from Tuesday to Saturday, 2 to 7 PM
The Arcades Project is an ensemble of unfinished essays, fragments and collected quotations, written by German philosopher Walter BENJAMIN from 1927 to 1940 posthumously published. In this collection, the author evokes the Parisian passages, home to myriad boutiques. During his wanderings through these arcades, Walter BENJAMIN matured his influential concept of the historian as 'rag collector' who accrues small elements that relate to the past, bringing them together in a common narration. According to Walter BENJAMIN, the historian's task is less about the uncovering of absolute truths than the assembly of ruins of past times in the creation of a colorful and engaging mosaic.
The artists gathered for this exhibition work in the same spirit as the Benjaminian historian: with a gesture comprising both collection and montage. They use materials taken from their everyday surroundings; they gather anecdotes, citations, real and imagined histories. Following this initial harvesting, they assemble fragments into abstract paintings and sculptural objects, breathing new life into both materials and media loaded in art history. In this way, their works acknowledge Walter BENJAMIN's belief that 'the world is present in every one of its objects'.
In the spirit of the "rag collector", Jack GREER (born in 1987 in Los Angeles, lives and works in New York) scours the shared Still House Group studio for leftover materials that will be incorporated into his patchwork paintings. This harvesting leads to a process he considers to be at once collaborative and solitary; the inclusion of "somebody else's trash" is offset by the meticulous work of transforming these scraps into cohesive abstractions. For this exhibition, GREER has chosen to isolate two authors of these cast-off materials, Brendan LYNCH and Nick DARMSTAEDTER, in the creation of in what could be considered as effigies. The two most recently shown artists at the Gallery BUGADA & CARGNEL, their evocation in Finding Brendan and Finding Nick becomes a citation as well as continuation of the Still House Group's and the gallery's history.
Using fabrics bought from megastores, Benjamin HORNS (born in 1989 in Willow Spring, Illinois, lives and works in Frankfurt) creates abstract paintings by combining everyday materials with these ready-made canvases. Zippers are added, allowing these paintings to be changeable, but also rupturing what is traditionally seen as a whole. Additionally at a play is the presence, or lack thereof, of the artist's hand in the process of creation. He begins with printed fabrics of geometric patterns, incorporating from the start an aesthetic absorbed from Modernism into a commercial structure. Bleach, dye and spray paint are applied, at once creating and destroying marks on the fabric. Here, HORNS resembles the figure of BENJAMIN, one wandering the arcades of a nearly disappeared Paris, the other the endless aisles of a big-box store, both returning to bring us fragmented proof of an age.
The work of Alfredo ACETO (born in 1991 in Turin, lives and works in Lausanne) is blended with humor, in the spirit of the ceramic that greets gallery visitors with the words "Welcome to the art world". His pieces are tangled up in historic as well as personal anecdotes and art historical references. In the Clocks series, he reactivates an anecdote BENJAMIN was fond of retelling, holding that during the French Revolution soldiers would shoot at clocks in villages in order to "stop time". Repeating this gesture, ACETO used clocks by designer Aldo ROSSI as targets, revealing the manner in which collective and individual memories meet and collide. In his Mask Paintings, ACETO appropriates an industrial camouflaging technique, used to disguise car prototypes being road tested. He isolates these motifs, stamping them on blue curtain material or linen, creating a pictorial work with a technique meant to conceal it. Presiding over the exhibition, a statue of Saint Roch observes us. In a mountain village, a special effects team painted a wall housing this statue in order to use it as a blue screen. With no regard for the patron saint of this village, it was painted blue as well.