David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Michael Riedel, on view at 533 West 19th Street in New York. This will be the artist’s sixth solo show with the gallery.
For more than fifteen years, Riedel has advanced a self-sustaining artistic system whereby new work is generated from existing material in seemingly endless loops and permutations. While his practice—which incorporates painting, text, audio, video, photography, publishing, architecture, and performance—may at first glance seem to share a conceptual affinity with Pop and appropriation art, it represents a departure from the issues of mechanical reproduction and simulacra that preoccupied these earlier generations. More specifically, it engages with the aesthetic possibilities derived from the basic principles of recording, labeling, and playback, and uses the idea of the transfer as new content in its own right.
In this exhibition, the gallery will be wallpapered with posters whose text derives from a website selling fine art supplies. In so doing, Riedel subverts the intended use of the products being offered for sale and uses the information as undefined art material. Layered almost illegibly, he transforms the white-cube walls into white walls made out of text.
Also included are life-size prints with book reproductions of animal skeletons, some of which are rotated to suggest a closed system of possibilities, with the creatures seemingly chasing their own tails. Vinyl stickers affixed to the surfaces feature an image of a scanned plastic bag from the art supply store.
Curator and writer Luca Cerizza has commented on Riedel’s practice that his “use of appropriation strategies combine deadpan humor and a renewed form of institutional critique….[R]epeating and copying does not necessarily involve iconic moments of art or highbrow cultural production….[L]anguage is treated more as a visual material than as a carrier of meaningful messages. Words—at times barely readable, cut and pasted, blanked out, shifted from one context to another—become verbal (black and) white noise, visual poetry for the digital age, monuments in the constant twittering in our mediascape.”¹
¹ Luca Cerizza, “Digital Dandy,” frieze d/e (Summer 2012).