• I’ll be honest.
    When looking at works by other artists, there are times when I wish I made them. It is a mix of humiliation and hope, coaxing me back into the studio once again. Olve Sande, Sven Stuckenschmidt, Georgia Dickie, and Anu Vahtra all made work that I wish I could have made.
    There … I’ve said it.

    What binds these four works, beyond my subjective reckoning though, is a sort of textual resistance. The surface is not merely a skin but perhaps points to an interiority which could become surface. This tension is reinforced by an insistence to verticality and its inescapable relationship to horizontality. These works point outward at the frame, the support, or the conditions of the exhibition space as potential directions for meaning.

    In Olve Sande’s Proun, the crevices of three plywood pieces are filled with plaster as one might spackle a wall. The plywood pieces, taken from an art crate, form one large piece and are framed in steel, thereby turning the container of art into art itself.

    In Sven Stuckenschmidt’s Plateau, five metal balls rest on a white plexi plinth, towered by a wood-and-aluminum structure upholding two other metal balls. On closer look, all the metal balls are equipped with spikes, thereby turning an otherwise tender sculpture into a scene of domination and submission.

    Georgia Dickie’s Thirsty Plinth, is a pedestal that does not hold an object, but rather requires a soft padding. If a plinth is usually a structural support for a sculptural object that rests firmly on the ground, in this hollowed-out version of a plinth, its status is elevated by the evacuation of its former function.

    Anu Vahtra photographs exhibition spaces and reproduced them as Xeroxes on exhibition walls, yielding a double take. The documentation of her work, in effect, is the work. Does perception exist prior to the creation of space or vice versa? In Fair, where the image ends and the exhibition space begins, (in this case, an art fair), remain a perceptual challenge.

    Jo-ey Tang is a New York-based artist. He is founder of The Notary Public, a curatorial project and apartment exhibition space, and picture editor of n+1. He was included in the 2010 UCLA New Wight Biennial. His first solo exhibition will be at Exile, Berlin, in September 2011.


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