Interested in the process of collecting as a reflection of the owner’s identity, we are honoured to present our second edition of ‘Private Collection Selected By’. During this summer exhibition we present works from a private collection chosen by a gallery artist who is also part of the collection. In collaboration with the collector and the gallerist, the artist curates the show and intertwines it with a series of new works and interventions.
For this edition we have invited Toronto-based Derek Sullivan (CA, 1976) to make a selection from a Belgian collection that contains both historical and contemporary works. The collection is rooted in the ‘70’s - a period that lies at the basis of Sullivans discursive framework - with works by amongst others Bruce Nauman and Lawrence Weiner. It continues to grow with works by international, but also young Belgian artists like Jan De Cock and Pieterjan Ginckels. The selection for this exhibition is inspired by Sullivans interest in the histories, conventions and possibilities of the book, and especially the artist book. He looks back to artists who explored the formal and conceptual apparatus of the codex in an effort to reinvent the form of the book today.
Derek Sullivan has refined a playful, idiosyncratic practice that uses everyday forms (books, posters, furniture, to name a few) as arenas in which to stage language games and construct visual puzzles. His works fold together the overlapping histories of modernist design, minimal and conceptual art, abstract painting and concrete poetry.
The Booklover (2014) is an artist’s book in the form of a string of pennant flags. The images are from Sullivans archive of pictures of people reading that have been printed previously in his artist’s book of the same title. The work creates a space in which to read the book, the physical aspect of reading is emphasized as the visitor maneuvers themselves to view the pages/flags. It draws out the sequencing of a typical codex book structure into a gestural line that cascades across the architecture of the gallery.
The work After the life for the most part (2014) is based on R.B. Kitaj’s ‘In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part’ (1969), a collection of silkscreen enlargements of book covers taken from the collection of the artist. His selection of books evokes a range of subjects (literature, film, political history, sociology). Sullivans prints borrow his process (and a portion of his title) and layers the enlarged covers into stacked compositions. These books all reside on the shelves in my studio. A bookshelf creates countless ghost narratives in what can be imagined in the juxtaposition of titles, one can imagine a trajectory of reading, a phantom subject.
Persistent Huts (2014) is a series of c-prints from an artist’s book built upon the footprint of Ed Ruscha’s seminal book ‘Every Building on the Sunset Strip’ (1966). Sullivans book consists of a sequence images showing 6 copies of Martin Kippenberger’s book ‘Psychobuildings’ (1988) precariously balanced into small improvised structures. The title “persistent huts” is an anagram of “the sunset strip”, using this nonsense connection to link two artist’s books about the built environment to reveal the architectural potential of the book itself: a book that is a wall, a fold, a wave, a barrier, a structure.
Derek Sullivan’s recent solo exhibitions were held at Galerie Emmanuel Hervé, Paris (FR), Jessica Bradley Gallery, Toronto (CA), KIOSK, Ghent (BE), The Power Plant, Toronto (CA) and University of Warloo Art Gallery (CA). He has taken part in various group shows at amongst others, Gagosian Gallery, New York (USA), the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA), Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (CA), Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (AUS) & Montréal Biennial.