Taking over Casey Kaplan’s midtown exhibition space with a selection of works outlining his incisive and intricate exploration of labor, modes of legibility and the conscription of a body politic, artist Liam Gillick reflects on the various stages and of his career. Unifying a selection of key texts, abstract structures and installations, spanning the early 90s to the late 2000s, and will coincide with the gallery’s 25th anniversary.
Since the late 1980s, Gillick has employed a variety of methodologies to explore the semiotics of the built world. Writing has maintained a crucial role in his practice, culminating in an eclectic collection of fictional texts that resist linear narrative in favor of fragmented dialogue, stream of consciousness, and abrupt slips in time. In addition to these narrative devices, Gillick often uses historical revisioning as an exercise through which to imagine alternative parallel futures. Continually referenced, decontextualized, and reworked, the texts remain in a permanent state of development and transformation in order to examine shifting modes of production and the psychosocial implications of late capitalism.
This practice sits at the core of this show, incorporating both texts and the sculptural iterations and spatial abstractions that stem from his project. A selection of Gillick’s earliest writings provide a conceptual framework for this exhibition, including: McNamara (1992-1995), Erasmus is Late (1995), Ibuka! (1995), and Discussion Island/Big Conference Centre (1997), each of which drove the production of works meant to explore and investigate technologies of production and ergonomics, exploring use as a branch of extraction. Formal abstractions and instructional installations exist as potential props or mis-en-scenes, in loose correlation to the narratives. Rejecting a cause-and-effect logic, the works instead propose a variety of potential scenarios to reflect the nuanced contexts in which abstract ideas are realized.
The result in this show is something of a new environment drawing on the varied elements of each environment relegated to the past, a reshaped a reformatted version of past projects. Canopies suspended from the ceiling incite the unconscious congregation of bodies; a free-standing screen provides access visually while blocking physical entry, and ill-placed handrails create arbitrary divisions, but deny stability, yet at the same time these ideas taken together seem to hint at the chaos of our modern epoch, a sort of destabilization caused by the vast instrumentalization and reformatting of productive labor along multiple theoretical attitudes, and the ultimately violence conflict between systems that results. To Gillick, there are no easy answers, particularly when several are proposed at once.
The show is on view through April 18th.
— D. Creahan
Liam Gillick: Redaction [Exhibition Site]