RELOCATION, REALLOCATION, STOCKHOLM
Stockholm: November 21 - January 4th, 2014 (extended until February 4, 2014)
In our contemporary world, where geographic and material boundaries are increasingly elastic and porous, how can we best describe where an artwork comes from? Is provenance related to where an artist was born or where his current studio or gallery is based? Should we take into consideration where and how his raw materials are sourced? What information does the collector and exhibition history of an artwork add to the story? And, taking all of this into account, where along the way does meaning get allocated—and then, perhaps, reallocated—over time? These are some of the questions raised by the present exhibition Relocation, reallocation, Stockholm. Curated by Stefania Bortolami, this third show at McCabe Fine Art relocates recent works by John Armleder, Daniel Buren, Tom Burr, Nicolas Guagnini, Thilo Heinzmann, Lena Henke, Ben Schumacher, and Josh Tonsfeldt to Stockholm, Sweden.
Artists are often labeled according to nationality even if they no longer live or work in their native country. In light of globalization, however, what does a national identity even really mean or tell us? We may refer to Daniel Buren as a French artist, but the title of his work, Made in the USA – Aluminum (2012), plainly gives it an American identity. Further complicating things, what new significance is imparted to the artwork (which is installed in-situ for each exhibition) by its present installation in Sweden? If we can agree that meaning is contextual and therefore reallocated when an object or material is relocated, how then does this apply to Swiss artist John Armleder’s ready-made American guitars or the Swiss crystals and American cowhide, which Thilo Heinzmann put together in his Berlin studio?
The sculptures on view by Ben Schumacher, Lena Henke, and Tom Burr are comprised of seemingly quotidian items, which take on new significance thanks to the artists’ reconfigurations and recontextualizations. Schumacher’s One Calorie as Good as Another/Epoch Defining Broadcast (green) (2013) features a floor lamp of the sort one might expect to find in an office setting. The fact that it is an Ikea lamp, presented here with its original packaging materials, speaks to a general trend of global homogenization facilitated by
international corporations and worldwide shipping. Also implying transport, Henke’s sculpture takes the form of a container. Because the Judd-like box is made of clear plastic, however, we can see that there is nothing inside. Instead, the message—an image based on a photograph of a sculpture by Gustav Vigeland—has been printed on the exterior. Thus, the impression of a representational statue has been reallocated onto a minimalist geometric form. A classic white door from Burr’s native New England forms the basis for Architectural Digest, (a door) (2010). A portrait as well as a portal, this highly symbolic domestic object is collaged with pages from vintage issues of “Architectural Digest.” Decorated but non-functional, this familiar architecture suggests that “home” is a concept as well as a physical reality.
Also addressing the concept of home, Josh Tonsfeldt's painting incudes a real spider web. Fleeting and organic, the relocated spider's home imbues the painting with a sense of earthiness and ephemerality. A more corporeal physical relocation, which also causes conceptual reallocation, is found in Nicolas Guagnini’s intimate self-portrait. Modeled from his own body parts, Guagnini’s ceramic sculpture presents the artist as a jumble of disembodied ears, noses, and penises. Removed from their functional bodily context, these very personal human parts take on an abstract quality. Like Tonsfeldt’s spider web, Burr’s door, or Armleder’s guitars, the formal relocation of Guagnini’s body parts reallocates their importance and meaning.
MCCABE FINE ART
Noted art advisor, dealer and collector, Paul Frank McCabe, opened McCabe Fine Art in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013. An extension of his eighteen years of art market experience and connoisseurship, the beautifully renovated showroom in central Östermalm presents works by modern and contemporary masters as well as emerging talents. Through a program of curated, thematic and monographic exhibitions, McCabe Fine Art brings new voices to Scandinavia’s dynamic international art scene.
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