Magazine article Artforum International

Liam Gillick: Casey Kaplan

Magazine article Artforum International

Liam Gillick: Casey Kaplan

Article excerpt

"The state itself becomes a super whatnot"--whatever! I so want to believe in Liam Gillick's post-Fordist cosmology of poeticized socioeconomic rhetoric. Alas, the elegant array of new works grouped here under the aforementioned title phrase merely reconstitutes Gillick's ongoing project: the instrumentalization of codes of (neo) Minimalism and (neo) Conceptualism, inflected by rather soft, ingratiating contextual/situational tactics. His enterprise engenders a variant of intellectual ventriloquism: Decorative object-structures are deployed to give voice to a broader ideational framework (supplemented by an obligatory press release spun in the language of hazy social relevance).

Structured so as to be self-referential, the show proposed a closed binary system of formal/structural relationships. The title was writ large on the entry wall in slick black vinyl letters; this is actually a work in and of itself, a neo-Conceptualist conceit laced with hip design aesthetics. On the wall of the next room was a reordering of the title (THE WAHTNOT ITSELF BECOMES A SUPER STATE), which linguistically framed four works: Between Kalmar and Udevalla, 2008, a wall-based sculpture that, comprising forty powder-coated aluminum slatlike elements, resembles a large multicolored radiator unit; Sometimes They Worked in Groups of Three, 2008, a large, red, freestanding, rectilinear structure made of aluminum and Plexiglas; Status Following Closure, 2008, a much narrower, freestanding, rectilinear structure composed of the same materials in multiple colors; and a wall-installed ventilation-unit-like work, Projected Retraction, 2008.

The next room featured two sculptures that remix the structures and colors of the works in the previous space. Lapsed Reduction, 2008, for instance, fuses the red color scheme of Sometimes They Worked in Groups of Three with the perpendicularity of Status Following Closure, while Rescinded Production, 2008, suggests a crossbreeding of Status Following Closure's chromatic array with the architectonics of Sometimes They Worked in Groups of Three. Lastly, a relatively inconspicuous entry, the 1988 Prototype Double Mounted Wall Rail (a blue-gray object hung high on the wall), refers to Gillick's own history of being preoccupied with the relations between reductive sculptural aesthetics, architectural design, and art's contextual and spatial frame. Each work here is tightly calibrated in its conception, design, and execution, and the formal conflations are indeed clever. …

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