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Gerard Byrne, "Form of Abstraction"

Stockholm, October 10th - November 16th, 2008
Image No. 1 of Gerard Byrne

Installation view

 
Galerie Nordenhake presents Forms of Abstraction, Gerard Byrne’s first solo exhibition in Sweden. Gerard Byrne's art practice utilizes video and photography to question the ways in which images are constructed, transmitted and mediated. His work examines the modes and conventions of image making and analyzes the mechanics of representation itself. Influenced by literature and theatre, Byrne's work consistently references a range of sources, from popular magazines of the recent past to iconic modernist playwrights like Brecht, Beckett, and Sartre.

The works presented at Galerie Nordenhake all in some way stage the act of representation, contrasting the information presented in the image with supplemental textual information. 'Forms of Abstraction' is a reference to the legibility or illegibility of lens-based images. Each work suggests a play with the discrepancies, fragmentation and incompleteness of each representation. By doing so Byrne proposes the idea that all representations are abstract.

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9 2007 is a video installation presenting a series of reconstructed interviews which were made with aspiring New York based actors at the New York Theater Workshop in May 2007. Neither documentary nor fiction, *ZAN -T185 was shot by cult cinematographer Chris Doyle. The interviews Byrne reconstructs with these actors derive from microfilm records held in the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and document interviews with peripheral ‘celebrities’ from early issues of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine from c.1974.

The exhibition includes a range of diverse photographic works of disparate and seemingly unrelated subject matter, all linked through a chain of captions that weave narrative connections across the works, mirroring the way newspapers use language to anchor photographic images. Byrne's photographs are both unequivocally clear and strangely enigmatic at the same time. The related larger photographic work One year four weeks and four days ago is a unique photographic document of a specific moment in the ever-changing display of a typical magazine newsstand. Referencing Walker Evan's famous series of photographs of newsstands, the work counters the throwaway flux of photographic imagery with a unique photographic print, whose exact age is chronicled in an ever-changing title.

Also in the exhibition is Byrne’s newest work 1968/ Mica and Glass (temporally removed) or A counter-enthropic exercise in Epic Theatre, demonstrated by workers from Statens Museum for Kunst. Presented here for the first time in its completed form on 16 mm color film, it is a motion-activated installation addressing the relationship between film, object and space - an attempt to reconfigure the spatial dynamics of Minimalism and Robert Smithson’s sculpture Untitled (Mica and Glass) from 1968.

  
Image No. 2 of Gerard Byrne

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9, 2007, Single channel HD projection

 
Image No. 3 of Gerard Byrne

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9, 2007, Single channel HD projection

 
Image No. 4 of Gerard Byrne

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9, 2007, Single channel HD projection

 
Image No. 5 of Gerard Byrne

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9, 2007, Single channel HD projection

 
Image No. 6 of Gerard Byrne

*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 - v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy Warhol's (Interview) v.2, no. 21 - v.3, no. 9, 2007, Single channel HD projection

 
Image No. 7 of Gerard Byrne

'68 / Mica & Glass or A counter-entropic exercise, as demonstrated by workers from a State Museum for Art, 2008, 8 minutes and 29 seconds 16 mm colour film loop (silent), Edition of 4 + 1AP

 
Image No. 8 of Gerard Byrne

'68 / Mica & Glass or A counter-entropic exercise, as demonstrated by workers from a State Museum for Art, 2008, 8 minutes and 29 seconds 16 mm colour film loop (silent), Edition of 4 + 1AP

 
Image No. 9 of Gerard Byrne

'68 / Mica & Glass or A counter-entropic exercise, as demonstrated by workers from a State Museum for Art, 2008, 8 minutes and 29 seconds 16 mm colour film loop (silent), Edition of 4 + 1AP

 
Image No. 10 of Gerard Byrne

One year four weeks and four days ago, silver gelatin print, 127 x 152.5 cm
Unique

 
Image No. 11 of Gerard Byrne

The reverse of a framed painting. Catalogue No. KMS 1989, Collection of the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Item dimensions: 66.4 x 87 cm, Item age: 348 years. Reproduced at 56.25% of original size, 2008, selenium toned silver gelatin print, 64 x 54 cm

 
Image No. 12 of Gerard Byrne

The earth after the fall of man. Catalogue No. KMS 1899, Collection of the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Item dimensions: 64.5 x 82.5. Item age: 318 years. Reproduced at 55% of original size, 2008, selenium toned silver gelatin print, 64 x 54 cm

 
Image No. 13 of Gerard Byrne

A young woman contemplating a skull. Catalogue No. KMS 147, Collection of the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Item dimensions: 62,9x44,7 cm. Item age: 417 years. Reproduced at 54% of original size, 2008, selenium toned silver gelatin print, 64 x 54 cm

 
Image No. 14 of Gerard Byrne

"In the organic world, for instance, soft tissue (gels and aerosols, muscle and nerve) reigned supreme until 500 million years ago. At that point, some of the conglomerations of fleshy matter-energythat made up life underwent a sudden mineralisation, and a new material for constructing living creatures emerged: bone. It is almost as if the mineral world that had served as a substratum for the emergence of biological creatures was re-asserting itself, confirming that geology, far from being left behind as a primitive stage in the earth's evolution, fully coexisted with the soft gelatinous newcomers. Primitive bone, a stiff calcified rod that would later become the vertibral column,made new forms of movement control possible among animals, freeing them from many constraints and literally setting them into motion to conquer every available niche in the air, in water, and on land. And yet, while bone allowed the complexification of the animal phylum to which we, as vertebrates, belong, it never forgot it's mineral origins: it is the living material that most easily petrifies, that most readily crosses the threshold back into the world of rocks. For that reason, much of the geological record is written with fossil bone." - De Landa, M. "A thousand years of nonlinear history" p. 26 -27, New York, 2000. In the upper left corner there are two marks (> 1 cm) visible in the sky area which cannot be identified with certainty in relation to the rest of the scene. The inner of the two marks is most likely a moving bird flying either directly away from, or towards the lens, along the optical axis during the moment of exposure (1/15 of a second). It's exact height and distance are difficult to determine. The outer mark, only marginally smaller, but more clearly defined, is most likely a small curly hair, probably human, which settled on the surface of the film before or during exposure, leaving a trace line of unexposed film underneath it, 2008, selenium toned silver gelatin print, 64 x 54 cm

 
Image No. 15 of Gerard Byrne

8.29 pm, The Jury chamber, from Twelve Angry Men. Andrews Lane Theatre, Dublin, 2001, 2003 Design by Catherine Sanki. "In a way, this is almost formula theatre: put a group of people under stress in an enclosed space, and let them strip each other down. Done as well as it is here, there's a lot more to it." Gerry Colgan, Irish Times, Thursday, 8th of November, 2001, 1999 – ongoing, selenium toned silver gelatin print, 53.1 x 63.1 x 3.2 cm

 
Image No. 16 of Gerard Byrne

"It is comparatively easy to set up a basic model for epic theatre. For practical experiments I usually picked as my example of completely simple 'natural' epic theatre an incident such as can be seen on any street corner: an eyewitness demonstrating to a collection of people how a traffic accident took place" -Bertold Brecht, "The Street Scene", Published in Willets, J. "Brecht on Theatre", London, 1964. A variety of viewpoints from the corners of Meeker and McGuinness Blvds, 2008, Fuji Crystal Archive print, 64 x 54 cm





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