Duration 11.04.2013 – 18.05.2013
Participating artists David Batchelor, Jota Castro, Marcel Duchamp, Jimmie Durham, Piero Golia, Martin Kersels, Robert Kusmirowski, Olaf Nicolai, Nasan Tur, Sislej Xhafa
Curated by Mario Codognato
The exhibition examines the ways in which artists today continue to respond to the activation of memory and the phenomenon of ‘haunting’ so present in the unique and progressive art of Duchamp during the early twentieth century.
Taken from an age-old French proverb, ‘Tell me whom you haunt and I will tell you who you are’, the show’s title refers to the idea that found or ‘readymade’ objects relinquish their previous signification and assume a shifting identity whenever recontextualised; they cease to be one thing in order to become another. In this sense, David Batchelor, Jota Castro, Jimmie Durham, Piero Golia, Martin Kersels, Robert Kusmirowski, Olaf Nicolai, Valentin Ruhry, Nasan Tur and Sislej Xhafa could all be seen, much like Duchamp, to be creating contexts for the ‘haunting’ of objects through their practice. Furthermore, their artworks take on the role of post-structuralist memory-objects, where meaning can extend beyond the personal significance of these objects for the artists, into a realm where the viewer’s own recollections or associations are triggered, positing the potential for a rich web of personal readings.
Mario Codognato, Head Curator and Director of Exhibitions at Blain|Southern states:“Objects often have a multiplicity of meanings, dependent upon each individual’s experience of them. This exhibition seeks to explore the alternative meaning(s) bestowed upon objects through their placement in the gallery space, within which seemingly ordinary objects can be redefined as art.”
Among the numerous Duchamp works on display, From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Selavy (Box in a Valise) (1952) best encapsulates the central themes examined within the exhibition. The intricate layering of meaning, typical of Duchamp’s work, is manifest in the literal act of encasing a box within a valise. Contained within the suitcase are a variety of miniature replicas and colour reproductions of his earlier works; a display of memory that also highlights the continuity within his oeuvre. The title gives a nod to Duchamp’s female alter ego, Rrose Selavy, whose signature appears on a number of the reproductions, thus emphasising the mutable nature of identity.