Currently on view at Galerie Perrotin’s spacious Lower East Side headquarters is a body of new works by digital artist Artie Vierkant. The show continues Vierkant’s interest in the shifting modes of perception and criticality as the art object moves from a concrete object in the gallery space to an image of documentation online. Filling the gallery with a series of his Image Object works, Vierkant’s pieces open an extended engagement between the object and its digital referents, ultimately seeking to break down connections between the two.
Central to this pursuit is the artist’s assertion that an object’s physical manifestation is no more or less consequential than its representations. For Vierkant, the representation itself can exist “without reference to the ‘original’, so that we can no longer identify anything as an “original copy”. This is most evident the Image Objects, an ongoing project since 2011. These works are made as prints using contemporary commercial printing technologies commonly applied for advertising and luxury signage.
Subsequently the works are documented in photographic images which are harshly and abstractly retouched, often to the point that the original object is more or less unrecognizable and the space of the installation itself appears blended with the object. Shown online, the images have been twisted and warped, degraded and blended into the space in a way that turns the space into an interrelated aspect of the object’s location, a turn away from merely presenting the work in space, and towards exploring the documentation of the work as a new sphere for interpretation and artistic action. The documentation of the art becomes a work in its own right, with object and image equally part of the overall work, calling into question the ability of the one to supersede the other, and collapsing notions of value.
Here, Vierkant has taken this practice to a new point with a new iteration of the work, an augmented reality project called the Image Object app. Available for free, the viewer can use the app to experience an augmented reality of shapes and layers unfolding around them in real time. As the phone’s camera locates and calibrates the space of the viewer, the experience is akin to walking around within the layered installation views Vierkant disseminates, with layers of abstraction appearing over the works and suspended in space throughout the room.
Vierkant’s artistic project translates to a nuanced, ever-shifting engagement with space and time, one that draws additional strength and potency from the objects in space. The flat, simple graphics on the wall are presented not merely as content for the viewer and the varied technologies carrying it, but equally as context, as the framework around which new iterations and explorations of the presentation and documentation of work may ultimately shift and evolve. Taking a moment to reflect as much on the modes of seeing as on the image itself, Vierkant’s pieces offer a nuanced, and rather fluid, opportunity for reflection.
The show closes today, April 8th.
— D. Creahan
Artie Vierkant, Rooms Greet People By Name [Galerie Perrotin]