Effortlessly dispersed on an otherwise blank sheet, words ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘all sons and daughters’ and ‘regardless of age or place’ utter in the viewers’ mouths, debuting a startling poem brimming with countless untold tales of new territories and fresh beginnings.
In On Paper, her first exhibition at SoHo’s Spencer Brownstone Gallery, the Brooklyn-based artist Jesse Chun introduces a serene ambiance composed of two series, Landscape and Form, as well as blueprints, a wall-spanning installation of vellum paper blueprints that at first sight seems to be solely composed of arbitrary geometric forms. Akin to other works on view, the said piece stems from immigration forms the artist collected over the years to strip them off from their utilitarian aspects and decontextualize their raison d’être. Freed from the burden of words asking personal questions or dictating requirements, elegantly orchestrated abstract and minimal forms illustrate lurking possibilities beneath these visa forms.
Furthering the depiction of such narrative possibilities and unexplored territories is a series of landscapes in mild tones of pink, green and blue, illustrating otherworldly panoramas—snowy peaks piercingly erecting towards the sky, tempestuous waterfalls bursting with potency or voluminous branches blanketed by blooming flowers. Perplexing charm of these utopian views emerge from pages of passports showcasing landmarks from the countries they belong to. Blown out to striking dimensions, these landscapes of archival pigment prints allow viewers enjoy their unique patterns originally created to serve as watermarks in order to reduce the risk of forging.
Paper no longer simply is the bearer of information regarding one’s immigration status or travels abroad, yet molds into a platform to further experiment for Chun. Indicating the separation between that of actuality and of the officially stated, the expression on paper aids the artist to depict this duality. Under the helm of her re-contextualizing project, papers, each originating from a bureaucratic core, ask questions about belonging, alienation and drifting—to a place, to an identity and to a story. Pursuing a home that is ephemeral, fluid and ubiquitous, the artist invents poems, both verbal and pictorial, embedded in unintended structures.
Jesse Chun: On Paper will remain on view at Spencer Brownstone Gallery until September 17, 2016.
*All images Courtesy of the Artist.
In late September when I visited the Berlin Art Book Fair: MISS READ, I had the pleasure to meet and visit with most of the vendors. In my last posting I shared information about the September Issue, which I picked up at the fair. During my visit I also had the pleasure to be introduced to Erik Steinbrecher by the artist Michalis Pichler. A couple of days later following a tour of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the curator, Dr. Michael Lailach gave me a copy of “UBER ALLES” that was co-published with the author, Erik Steinbrecher.
“UBER ALLES” was published in 2013. The ISBN is 978-3886-097326, and the current price is 35.00 euros. Erik was gracious enough to provide a short description of this project:
“This artist’s book is a collection of eleven items including booklets, photography,
posters by Erik Steinbrecher. This publication accompanies the artist’s exhibiton
at the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin from 8 November 2012 to 17 February
2013. The show presents books, prints and other artworks from 1995 to 2012.”
The titles of the items included in the bag UBER ALLES are:
1 Paar Schuhe/ pair of shoes
Wie am Schnu?rli
Free Poster ( Ei/ egg)
Erik Steinbrecher, born in 1963 in Basel, lives and works in Berlin. His work has developed in two main directions: the area of architecture and sculpture and the realm of photography. The artist not only realises more and more projects in public space, but he also takes a passionate interest in images of the mass media.
I am including some images of UBER ALLES in this posting.
What is most impressive is Erik’s publishing record. Since starting to explore the arena of Independent Publishing he has produced many more titles than most artists produce in a lifetime of publishing. I will post a few more examples of his photobooks in a few days.