The Object and the Image (this is not a chair either)

From March 18th to May 20th, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday March 18th, from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Ever since “a pipe” ceased being “a pipe,” or a common chair ceased being an utilitarian object to be transformed into a reference for a complex representational system –as in “One and Three Chairs” by Kosuth-, objects and material culture have modified perception and the practice of photography as a creative exercise. The simple silhouette of a pipe sketched by Rene Magritte in his iconic piece “Ceci n’est pas un pipe” abolished – at least in the terrain of thought -, the “common place” (Foucault) or the passive perception of the similarity between image and reality. The Dadaist experiments of the last century taught us that a mundane object could not only be a mechanism of negation and redefinition of art, but also a powerful artifact through which new visions of the world are created.

In the sixties, the conceptual experience subverted to the extreme the limits of the historic paradigm of photography. It shifed the role of the author and the value criteria of the photographic, generating new aesthetic and pragmatic dimensions. In the practices of ephemeral art, the photographic registry of the “footprint” as a substitute for action and occurrence situated the image at the opposite end of the decisive instant. The documentation of “absence as presence” —in the words of Victor Burgin— placed photography before the alternative of judging its intrinsic value from a registry of interventions that were evidently pre-constructed, and whose images were declared a posteriori as an artistic object per se.

But, in which way has the omnipresence of the common objects of consummerist culture conditioned the perception and practice of photography in the digital era? How are these visions of the real inserted into the imaginary in an age where manipulating an image has ceased to be an ethical dilemma, and where new photographic practices, far from attempting against the supposed “ingenuity of the reader,” involve their complicity in the traps of representation?

“The Object and The Image (This is not a Chair Either)”, brings back the quest of a group of artists to exploit this subject. They work from different visions and approaches in the creation of a hybrid and highly polemic object – an alter object -, whose values move around the intersection of the constructive practices of installation, sculpture, and the documentation of an authorial experience, and whose final product is a photograph in itself.

In this sense, “The Object and The Image (This is not a Chair Either)”, also exposes the artefact –the source of the exhibited photographs – uniting under one roof two instances traditionally separated in exhibition spaces: the image and its referent. This suitable coincidence will not only allow us a glimpse into the implicit mechanisms of image production, but will also propose to the spectator a journey through that zone that is neither the object nor its image: Rather, it is the mental process that transformed each artefact (in Latin “that which is made with art”) into a mine field that questions the stable condition of the “order of things,” and the concept of reality.

 

Aluna Curatorial Collective