XPO Gallery’s latest group exhibition, “Hike, Hack / Hic et Nunc,” redesigns the way we normally view and interpret contemporary art. For the duration of the exhibition, XPO Gallery will be physically closed to the public—save for special viewing hours during FIAC this week. The idea is not to exclude people, but to rejig the normal system of audience participation. The show will be available entirely online, to be viewed secondhand through artworks and installation shots on Artsy. In doing this the curators seem to suggest—or at least to experiment with the idea—that the traditional function of the art gallery is now outmoded. The aim of the show, as they put it, “is less defined by its curatorial or aesthetic value than by its inclination to satisfy the requirements of its own communication process.”
The crux of the exhibition is in its presentation to the public, or lack thereof, in order to communicate the artwork in a way that is true to our indirect experience of the world, an experience increasingly dominated by technology and screens of various devices.
The individual works in the show engage this idea of indirect or theoretical experience as well. Many of the pieces depict nature through a cybernetic lens, as in Pierre Clement’s OFF THE HOOK (2014), a fishing rod attached to a television laid flat on the floor broadcasting a video montage of tropical landscapes or Penelope Umbrico’s Mountains, Moving (2014), which takes a classic mountain as subject, put through a variety of digital photo filters and arranged geometrically against the wall. Kevin Zucker’s piece Claustra (blue) (2014) appears as a digital rainfall from up close but a few steps away the image begins to take shape and we can see a mashrabiya, an intricately latticed window, a hallmark of Arabic architecture.
Hike, Hack / Hic et Nunc poses questions about the way we disseminate and consume information now, and consequently, how we produce, view, and value art.
“Hike, Hack / Hic et Nunc” is on view at XPO Gallery, Oct. 23rd–25th, 2014; the backstage of the exhibition may be viewed on Artsy.