Critical Curatorial Program Thesis Exhibition

Critical Curatorial Program Thesis Exhibition

Paradox in Language:
What I look at is never what I wish to see

January 9 - February 7, 2015
Curated by Allyson Unzicker

Opening Reception Saturday, Jan. 10, 2:00 pm -5:00 pm

The University Art Gallery is pleased to present Paradox in Language: What I look at is never what I wish to see, a group exhibition featuring the work of Charles Gaines, Benjamin Verhoeven and Erika Vogt. This exhibition investigates the influences of various strains of conceptual thought that began to take form in 1966 when the writings of Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes became increasingly important to the study of linguistic systems. It was also the year Michelangelo Antononio’s film Blow-Up was released, which actively displayed the semiotic interpretation of an image. The three artists form a constellation of varying practices that consider the aesthetic strategies of both Conceptualism and Structuralism. In viewing these works together, representation and non-representation are held in tension. Through these practices we witness the challenges that lie in bringing this paradox into visual form.

In Charles Gaines' (b.1944, United States) String Theory and Randomized Text series, he invents a set of rules for randomizing appropriated texts which he then draws out onto paper. The text retains grammatical integrity, but as a result of the randomizing process, it becomes incoherent. Through this undoing of language, the meaning of the original text is reconstructed allowing a space for the viewer’s interpretation to enter. This relationship between the text as image and image as text poses the question: When language is present, what is absent? Benjamin Verhoeven (b.1990, Belgium) appropriates scenes from films such as Antonioni’s Blow-Up in his series Scanning Cinema. These films are re-interpreted by scanning them in real time, creating a distorted echo of the original. Using these films as a material, Verhoeven considers the digital image, the filmic process, time and space. Influenced by early experimental and Structuralist films, Erika Vogt (b. 1973, United States) creates installations that include video, drawings, and sculptures. The video Geometric Persecution follows the wanderings of a traveler seemingly unbound by the constraints of time and space. Nonlinear logic and abstract concepts are characteristic of Vogt’s practice which is grounded in both experience and process. The objects she creates are treated equal to words, forming a visual conversation.

University Art Gallery
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday from 12:00 – 6:00 pm
Free Admission. Public is Welcome. 

In conjunction with Paradox in Language: What I look at is never what I wish to see, the graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series presents a lecture with artist Erika Vogt. Monday, January 26th at 12:00 pm


Benjamin Verhoeven, Somebody was trying to kill somebody else, 2014, stop-motion video from scanned images, 6:25 min., courtesy of the artist