Artists: Tauba Auerbach, Camilla Löw, Emily Wardill
Venue: STANDARD (OSLO)
Exhibition Title: Almost Always is Nearly Enough
Date: February 12 – March 21, 2009
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
STANDARD (OSLO) is proud to present the exhibition “Almost Always Is Nearly Enough”, including works by Tauba Auerbach, Camilla Løw and Emily Wardill. Neither title nor any theme have been employed to equip the exhibition with a categorizing framework. Rather the five works here on display share an interest in a possible collapse of categories and cognition alike – inviting a discussion of the animation of the artwork.
“Something that is taking shape in my mind and will sometime come to consciousness.”
– Robert Barry
“I can shoot pool, and I can play ping-pong. I’m pretty good at those games.”
– Thelonious Monk
The ability that jazz pianist Thelonious Monk claimed to have as a player of both pool and ping-pong is hardly surprising given his conviction that all musicians are in fact mathematicians. “Subconsciously”, he added, knowing that listening to his performances in order to pin down any attempt at translating the trigonometry of pool into music would be pointless. After all, eccentricity characterized his music as much as any loyalty to logic. Nevertheless, Monk would be right in claiming that the abilities to predict and project necessitate the possibility to play. Only then is there a chance to deviate and tweak standards with dissonant harmonies, uneven bar structures, doubling of tempo mixed with abrupt, dramatic use of silence and hesitation. Wrong is made right, but only if you had it right in the first place.
Camilla Løw’s two sculptures in the exhibition equally seem to rely on rigid rules that are then subjected to hesitation. Suspended from the ceiling is the work 14 Days, a trapeze made from oiled oak bars and nylon strings. The idiosyncratic form in combination with the title may suggest the collapse of a calendar, but less specifically the work seems concerned with the collapse of solid configuration. “14 Days” is a balancing act; its configuration an instable moment of movement and one that will inevitably alter with every new mounting of the work. This element of chance is also investigated in the adjacent work, “White Steel”, where Løw is applying force to merge the geometric and organic. A powder coated white sheet of steel has been hammered haphazardly, leaving it at an in between stage of flatness and form. As sculptures they are both contradictions: being interested in how two-dimensional they can appear although inevitably being three-dimensional works.
Similarly concerned with matters of flatness and depths are the works from Tauba Auerbach’s recently developed series Crease / Crumple. The two paintings may be seen as continuing her research on ambiguity constructed from unambiguous parts. From focusing at the binary programming language of computers with her 50/50 series, Auerbach is this time looking at raster graphics (“halftone”) as a tool for translation of images. As indicated by the titles Auerbach takes an interest in the raster graphics ability to render a relief form on a flat surface. Entering the space and viewing the painting at the end wall of the gallery, one is capable of grasping the motif of a crumpled piece of paper. But when moving closer the motif dissolves, the dots of the raster start pulsating and producing a sheer nauseating physical sensation of the work having an internal space. The paradox remains that when studying a fragment from up close one is able to recognize the transparency of form while also recognizing that information has been made opaque.
Emily Wardill’s contribution to the exhibition is the film Born Winged Animals and Honey Gatherers of the Soul, dating back to 2005. The mere 9 minutes long 16 mm film merges tableaux from the East End of London with the sound of the church bells of St. Anne in Limehouse, but its subject matter in prologue to Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality (1887). Here Nietzsche argues that humans have never been able to find out who they really are and even in the attempt to do so they inevitably lose themselves:
“Rather, much as a divinely distracted, self-absorbed person into whose ear the bell has just boomed its twelve strokes of noon suddenly awakens and wonders, ‘what did it actually toll just now?’ so we rub our ears afterwards and ask, ‘what did we actually experience just now?’ still more: ‘who are we actually?’ and count up afterwards, as stated, all twelve quavering bell strokes of our life, of our being – alas! And miscount in the processes.”
Weaving together the staccato rhythm of the church bells and recorded snapshots of everyday life in this area of east London, the film revisits Nietzsche’s without literally referencing its source. However, as claimed by curator Katharine Stout, “Born Winged Animals and Honey Gatherers of the Soul harnesses the visceral impact of bells tolling, and juxtaposes this with evocative realist film footage to both suggest and dissolve Nietzsche’s symbolic description of an individual’s attempt to gain self-awareness”.
Tauba Auerbach (b. 1981) lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include “Passengers” at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, “Yes and Not Yes” at Deitch Projects, New York, and “The Answer/Wasn’t Here”, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, in addition to group exhibitions such as “No Information Available” at Gladstone Gallery, Bruxelles; “Words Fail Me” at Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; “Beneath the Underdog” at Gagosian Gallery, New York, and “Panic Room” at the Deste Art Foundation, Athens. Throughout the duration of the exhibition Tauba Auerbach’s works can also be seen in the SECA Award Show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Camilla Løw (b. 1976) lives and works in Oslo. Recent solo exhibitions include “Straight Letters” at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee / Pier Arts Centre, Orkney; “Broken Windows” at Elastic, Malmö; and “Henriette Grahnert / Camilla Löw” at Sutton Lane Paris, in addition to group exhibitions such as “Language of Vision” at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough; and “Standard Sizes”, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Throughout the duration of the exhibition her works can also be seen in a solo exhibition at Gallery AHO, Oslo and group exhibitions “Constructivismes” at Galerie Almine Rech in Bruxelles and “The Thing” organized by MuHKA, Antwerp, in Mechelen, Belgium.
Emily Wardill (b. 1977) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include NKV Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London and Jonathan Viner / Fortescue Avenue, London. Her works have also been included in group exhibitions such as “Lightbox” at Tate Britain, “Ballet Mecanique” at Timothy Taylor Gallery and “An Ambiguous Case”, MUMOK, Vienna. Wardill will this autumn have a solo exhibition with De Appel in Amsterdam and will also feature with a new film work in STANDARD (OSLO)’s two-person presentation (with Oscar Tuazon) at Art Basel this summer.