On view at Petzel Gallery is a group exhibition organized by Walead Beshty entitled “A Machinery for Living.” Composed of over 100 photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptural and installation works, the exhibition approaches a concept of embracing the subversive within everyday life.
A Machinery For Living encourages viewers to embrace everyday life, from the most significant moments to the most banal, and encouraging reflection on each moment as part of a grander whole. Beshty was inspired by Maurice Blanchot’s words about our individual everyday lives: “Not only must one not doubt it, but one must not dread it; rather one ought to seek to recapture the secret destructive capacity that is in play in it…”
Accordingly, the works on view feel looked within an engagement with the trappings and scenery of everyday life. Clothing and furniture runs up against familiar cinematic iconography, blending together to create a nuanced a reflective approach to the objects surrounding the viewer everyday. What’s more, the pieces on view extend far beyond the pre-ordained concepts of the high art object. Advertising clippings are placed alongside X-Ray images, books are included alongside coffee tables and seating. The materials move between the elevated state of the artwork and simple objects, welcoming a lingering reflection that underscores the potential for new states of perception and negotiation with each experience.
Also emerging within the exhibition is a focus on the house – not as a machine for living in, but rather as “the shell of a man – his extension, his release, his spiritual emanation” (Eileen Gray). In order to feel free within a life that is for the most part structured for us, Beshty has put together a group of works that speak about human freedom within enclosed spaces – freedom still exists within certain constraints as long as we are able to realize it. The opportunity exists within these spaces to turn objects on their ear, to animate them with the viewer’s own impressions and intents, and to reclaim them from a mere commoditized economy.
Exhibition organizer Walead Beshty was born in 1976 in London, and he currently lives and works in Los Angeles as a photographer and as a Professor in the Graduate Art Department of Art Center College of Design. Beshty is represented by Wallspace Gallery, NYC, and his work has been exhibited at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, NY; Capitain Petzel, Berin; Regen Projects, LA; and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C..
A Machinery For Living will continue at Petzel Gallery in New York through August 8, 2014.
Exhibition Page [Petzel Gallery]