Saturday, January 23, 2010

New York 2010 - Slash: Paper under the Knife

'Slash: Paper under the knife' is another superb exhibition in the Museum of Arts and Design series that makes an examination of current trends in traditional techniques. I had seen work from a few of the artists before but most were new to me.
Adam Fowler's untitled 74 layers graphite on paper begins life as a series of overlapping lines drawn on paper at a certain density. Each sheet is then cut away (by hand) to leave only the pencil marks. These sheets are then layered to complete the work. Apparently the darker lines tend to be of a slightly broader width. The labour invested in Adam's work is immense and the skill level incredibly accurate. The true depth of this piece can not be seen in a photograph, the subtle honeycomb of voids is only revealed on really close inspection. Dylan Graham (first seen in Brugges at Kantlijnen), On first encountering this piece (across the room) I was surprised by the use of bright red paper, however it soon became apparent that this piece was deeply engaged with China. The emergent Year of the Tiger is represented alongside other signs of the Chinese zodiac and balanced by the rotations of the planets. The traditional pair of dragons represent the old ways but China is one of the great emergent powers and is fighting hard to balance the old and the new. Communism, Colonialism and Capitalism are all fighting for their place in China's New Order.
Ariana Boussard-Reifel's cut and altered book 'Between the Lines' appears quite innocuous to the casual viewer but hides a deeper meaning. The book has every word removed and these are presented in a heap beside it, interestingly one of the words at the top of the pile was 'question'. At first glance the book appears to be a cheap paperback but she refers to it as a 'white supremacists bible' and is questioning the way in which words can be twisted to hide sinister meanings.
Noriko Ambe's 'Flat File Globe' 3A is not identical to the one shown here but works on the same principle. In the displayed version the top six drawers open as a single unit and it is possible to look down through the deep contours of the cut paper as if taking an aerial view of some vast canyon that has carved its way through the accumulated papers of someones life. This piece has truly archival resonances as well as being highly appealing visually.
Olafur Eliasson's 'Your House' has 454 pages hand bound to form a book. Worked at a scale of 85:1 it is a negative version of an architectural model. Shown above the book is a stop motion video of the pages turning and taking the viewer on a tour through the house.

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