14/02 - 03/07/2011
The exhibition, System Analysis, provides insight into the works of a group of younger artists from New York. Liz Deschenes, Wade Guyton, Eileen Quinlan, Blake Rayne, Reena Spaulings and Cheyney Thompson do not conceive themselves as constituting a group, but they are friends and share an interest in questions concerning the making and the conditions of images today. Thus it is characteristic of their works that they employ, to a high degree, techniques of reproduction, and apart from photography and silk-screen printing, use also computers, scanners, printers and photocopiers to fathom the potentials of contemporary art production. Although, in their mostly abstract images, they clearly refer to modern painting, with their employment of reproduction techniques, the artists subvert conventional ways of reading images focused on content. They analyze the system of art by investigating its foundations and components: instead of motifs, image-content or iconographic references, technique, production and presentation come to the fore. In this way attention is diverted and the images or objects serve above all as instruments for opening the gaze on the networks of which they are a part.
Thus, for instance, Wade Guyton's Printer Paintings are made by the artist’s pulling grounded canvas through an ink-jet printer. The latest paintings by Blake Rayne, in turn, are the result of various work-steps in which technological as well as chemical processes are superposed, while Cheyney Thompson chooses an approach that systematically goes through and varies elements of painting such as formats and signatures while at the same time incorporating handicraft and digital scans into his paintings. The two artists working with photography intentionally do without digital techniques and rely on low-tech ways of working. Eileen Quinlan produces her abstractions with the aid of a simple bench photo studio by arranging reflecting surfaces and mirrors with textile materials. Liz Deschenes’ photograms are made entirely without a camera. They are glossy monochrome images that are activated as soon as their surroundings and viewers are reflected in them. Finally, the artists’ collective Reena Spaulings, as a fictitious artist personality who simultaneously runs a New York Gallery, undermines not only the institutional structures of the system. In addition, Reena Spaulings intentionally allows contingent external circumstances to flow into its artistic decisions and plays with questions concerning authorship, thus formulating a new artistic self-understanding that is shared by all the artists in the exhibition.