Sunday, July 04, 2010

We're All Haunted By Michael Asher's Ghosts

“We’re All Haunted By Michael Asher’s Ghosts,” part of the Box Scheme 2010 CalArts MFA Graduate Exhibition, transforms a former projection room located on the second floor of Cottage Home gallery into an experiential three-room environment investigating institutional critique through discombobulating physical spaces, camouflage, isolation and voyeurism. 

Viewers enter the space through a site-specific construction – a skewed, white hallway evocative of a trough or an industrial chute.  This transitory space is a disconcerting and problematical passageway. 

A second room showcases a sculpture that resembles both a bench, the classic seat of Socratic dialectic, and a utility pole textured by thousands of staples from notices and posters past. The bench offers respite only after one navigates its treacherous landscape of obsessively applied staples, alluding to the artist’s studio practice, manic hours spent working over ideas and engaging in repetitive labor.  The piece expands beyond the gallery with an edition of letterpress posters hung around Los Angeles in conjunction with the installation.   

In a third room, paintings on canvas, constructed scenic flats and existing walls form a hidden observation area or duck blind that overlooks the bulk of the exhibition.  The paintings combine camouflage worn while hunting and observing waterfowl with dazzle camouflage, a type of camouflage used on World War I battleships to “dazzle” the enemy into a state of confusion.

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