Ken Burns Effect
I hope all is good.
I had a lot of thoughts about our last conversation a while back this summer in New York.
I recall you had a very busy week and I couldn’t come to see you in your studio.
Anyway, that turns out for the best as we had a good time eating pasta and drinking a good Italian wine and speaking about the upcoming show.
The first piece you were pretty clear on was The Profit, a very ambitious work.
You spoke extensively about the TV show that the work takes its name from.
The premise of the show is to save failing businesses and each time the business is evaluated on the:
People, Process and Product.
I think this makes sense as your work is maybe about the same three P’s.
You did not want to show me pictures but preferred to describe it.
I felt you wanted me to figure out the piece, or at least get a feel of it.
For me, your work is not about representation, or the loss of the image, but the absence of the object. That is a funny thing for sculpture.
The Profit consists of 54 photo, all glazed with resin and framed with copper.
Most elements consist of images of farm animals, all reduced to the frame size of 9 x 6’’.
Some animals are able to fit in this arbitrary frame, while others have been cut into two or three. At this stage, that was the only information I got from you.
The use of repetition and seriality, with the image turned into a decorative object reminded me of Allan McCollum Surrogate paintings or even more of his Perpetual Photos, with the close up of the camera annihilating the original subject / image.
When I opened one of the cardboard boxes at the gallery yesterday, and unpacked the work, I saw that one of the element consists of the photograph of the original poster from which all the images are taken.
This one was also reduced to 9 x6’’.
The series ends with five close up that turns into brown monochromes with glitter pixels.
Until today, many of your works were like a still picture.
In your show at the gallery, all the works have a cinematographic feel.
It is the unpacking, extending or diluting of the still image.
In The Profit, it feels like a camera focusing, zooming in very closely, then focus out to get an overview of the whole ‘scene’ and getting back so close to the subject again that what we get is an exhausted image.
Like the end is maybe also the beginning, the cellulose of film that neither gives nor takes images. Something about how Ken Burns effect is a convention that can be applied to anything regardless of content.
Like how the pop filter in PhotoBooth is capable or turning any image into a pop image.
I began to think this is not unlike how you previously worked with conventions like Feng Shui, applying them to space.
In the new Hamilton Beach sculptures, you abandoned the large single Hamilton Beach packing box and instead decided to have five of them combined on one single steel shelf.
The Hamilton Beach works are surrogates.
Having them multiplied, combined and presented on a single shelf pushes them even more into a decor.
The glut of information becomes decoration...
The color bubbles with the ‘unique selling propositions...”
I forget who said what after a while.
You did tell me a funny story about how the day after your show at PS1, the creative director from Hamilton Beach called you.
You thought you were going to be sued but they just called to tell you they were happy their work was in a museum.
And that is full circle.