Venue: ARARIO BEIJING - Space 3
Opening: 10 May PM: 5:00
Kevin Zucker’s solo exhibition “Standards and Anomalies”, directed by ARARIO BEIJING, will be open to public from 10 May to June 22.
The idea of a painting as a space for the collection, archiving, curation, storage and display of existing information, rather than as a zone for creation or expression, is central to all of Kevin Zucker’s recent work.
The paintings and drawings in this exhibition endlessly repeat a generic metal shelving unit in gridded spaces defined by perspective drafting aids. On the shelves sit collections of readymade imagery culled from the Internet. Two paintings depict a series of standard test images used in digital printing for color calibration. Another presents a series of sunsets taken from an online database. Two larger works display a collection of 3-D models of generic building types created by Google for use in their SketchUp program. A diptych presents the results of a search for the word “sculpture” in a database of downloadable user-created models. Five Archetypal Objects contains various real objects used in the development of early 3-D modeling software. A set of nine drawings is taken from a much larger ongoing series that attempts to present all of the 3,160,000 Google Image Search results for the word “tragedy.” The readymades on display are chosen for their status either as standards- generic “controls” by which other images are evaluated, or as anomalies- selections that have no discernable relationship to the system from which they are derived.
The combined effect of these collections is to create a real-world depiction of an online cabinet of curiosities within which the basic building blocks of contemporary image culture are warehoused. The selected material offers a snapshot of a particular moment in the infancy of rapidly developing technologies that are central to our mediated experience of the world. The sense of anachronism in the work is intended to evoke a retrospective view of contemporary artifacts, almost like a science fiction understanding of our culture as seen through the lens of the distant future.
The process used to make the paintings begins with a mass-produced perspective grid being silkscreened onto raw canvas. These grids, made obsolete by the advent of computer-aided drafting, were for many years used by architects as a shortcut to the accurate depiction of objects in space. The shelving unit is then drawn by hand in pencil and watercolor. After this painting is finished, it is fed into an oversized inkjet machine, which overprints the images that sit on the shelves. There are numerous opportunities for errors and glitches in these operations. Misregistered images, incorrectly interpreted color, and marks made when the heads of the printer strike the surface of the canvas are ordinarily considered mistakes to be avoided in the printing process. Here they are emphasized as signs that indexically describe the translations of the image between the digital world (the computer and printer) and the material one (the painted image made by the artist’s hand). Rather than being pulled tight, the finished works are simply tacked to the front of their stretchers, underscoring their relationship to drafting and to printing.
In the rear gallery, three photographs show still life arrangements of all the prop closet objects used to teach drawing in three prominent American art schools. The arrangements refer to the history of still life painting, and as such appear to be symbolically loaded. In reality, though, the objects are meaningless aside from having formal properties that might be useful in an academic drawing or painting exercise. The photographs are therefore imbued with the appearance of meaning without actually revealing anything other than a remnant of classical academic art pedagogy.
Born in 1976, Kevin Zucker is a New York based artist who has had solo shows at Mary Boone Gallery, Greenberg Van Doren gallery and LFL Gallery in New York, Jablonka Luehn and Linn Luehn in Cologne, and Paolo Curti & Co. in Milan. He has recently been featured in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, amongst others. In addition, Zucker has published his writing, and curated shows for Guild & Greyshkul and Mary Boone Gallery. His work is in public and private collections worldwide and has been written about and reproduced in most major art publications.