Smack Mellon at Espace Paul Ricard
9 rue Royal 75008 Paris
Curated by Kathleen Gilrain
Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 12, 2002
What brings the seven artists in FLAY, SPLAY, PLAY together is an especially obsessive habit to take things apart. They also share a geographic predicament -- all involved with the Brooklyn scene and SmackMellon specifically – yet it is a more strange and scientific practice that has dictated this line-up.
These artists share a predisposition toward a biological dissection of their chosen subjects. It is an anatomical aesthetic applied to things that have nothing to do with anatomy, and operated upon with invisible scalpels, i.e. computer code, lens and resin catalyst. The tendency that these artists favor is to dissect and flay though the focus of their attention is as diverse as it can get:
David Baskin makes sculpture in the traditional object-making sense of the word – his forms, all derived from household furniture are taken apart and recast in pink and red rubber. With the flesh like surface they take on an anthropomorphic feel especially when splayed across the wall like hunter's trophy pelts.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy analyze pop culture meticulously dissecting and archiving TV sitcoms and playing them back to us one bit of minutia at a time. Every scene is catalogued, timed and color-coded until the inanity of what we call American culture hisses and glares back at us from within the tube.
Simon Lee is an installation artist whose primary material is projected and fractured light, usually generated from high-school issue over-head projectors. He takes advantage of the prismatic effects of light -- attempting in every new piece to split light through ever stranger moving objects.
Eve Sussman dissects film motion a la Etienne-Jules Marey or Muybridge, highlighting each gesture by slowing the film down to 1/50th of its original speed. Projecting over 9 screens the result is a filmstrip in motion – as if a piece of celluloid were being held up to the light moving before our eyes. Jet lag made visible.
Melissa Dubbin and Aaron Davidson take time-based actions out of their specific moment and insert their subjects into an order of their own making. Video sequences are temporally rearranged and abstracted from the source. The prints they are showing here present the notion of chronological progression, as a fractured, discontinuous timeline.
After describing how each of these artists obsessively takes things apart it is fitting and perhaps sweetly ironic to point out that the word that best describes the feeling prevalent now in Brooklyn is 'synergism' -- the working together of things, or people, or organizations, where the result is greater than the sum of their individual capabilities. It is this synergism that has created this project 'Paris in Brooklyn/Brooklyn in Paris'. It is the same synergism that has made Brooklyn the mecca that it has become in the past five years and like any organism cannot tell you where it is going until it is flayed across the table to be dissected once again by the next wave.