Magazine article Artforum International

JEQU: 3001 gALLERY AT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROSKI SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS

Magazine article Artforum International

JEQU: 3001 gALLERY AT UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROSKI SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS

Article excerpt

Like a good tagline, the final phrase of the wriggling, poetic manifesto accompanying "BLEU," the latest exhibition by JEQU (curator Howie Chen and artist/attorney Jason Kakoyiannis), cut earnestness with cool illegibility: "It's about a feeling," they wrote--and yet, the mundane components of the show amounted to nothing if not an airy intellectual impression. The installation BLEU, 2011, consisted of three "sensorial arrangements" corresponding to the top, middle, and base notes of the men's fragrance Bleu de Chanel, displayed in sequence for six days each. The cologne had been resynthesized into three separate scents, each emitted in turn from a ceramic ring diffuser placed around a lowwatt lightbulb in a cheap white sconce on the floor. As the exhibition progressed, the gallery's fluorescent lighting dimmed accordingly: bare and bright for "top," gelled purple for "mid," and turned off for "base." The last installment contained only the sconce, spray-painted black and hidden behind a pane of tinted glass.

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The various ready-made objects decorating the space--for example, an unlit white candle partially submerged in a glass vase of Windex, or a functional Tony Hawk skateboard clock mounted high on the wall--privileged direct sensation over mediated interpretation. Collectively, these items seemed willfully beyond language, offering a quasi-Surrealist break with logical signification. Yet the individual components of BLEU were not so much uninterpretable as they were pre-interpreted, loaded with a lifetime of aesthetic and consumerist conditioning. A standard cork bulletin board in the "mid" section was densely layered with scraps of flyers bearing fragments of sentences--words such as YOGA, NEED, DEEPER, and YOU. A department store display rack (doubling as a LeWitt-ish metal grid) encased the board, blocking it off from use. Repurposed as aesthetic objects, neither functioned as intended; the bulletin board contained no useful information and the rack held no products.

3001 Gallery is an alcove the size of a folding table in the hallway of the building housing the MFA program of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. …

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