Cyprien Gaillard: Jinxed Variations
April 18 - June 17, 2017
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Cyprien Gaillard, the artist’s first show at the gallery’s Brussels location. This unique presentation expands upon Gaillard's unremitting anthropological inquiry into the rehabilitated readymade and the friction it poses in both material and psychological states. Featuring more than 60 new photographs, as well as large-scale graphite works on paper, this exhibition digs deep into the artist’s interest in layered political and social situations on a global scale. His preoccupation with and appreciation of disorder, be it as an aesthetic device or a portal into pedestrian bedlam, presents a platform thick with sociopolitical references and philosophical inquiries.
The exhibition considers the archive as a central framework: a rigorously organized selection of black and white newspaper photographs that Gaillard has mined from regional American press archives of the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer and the Chicago Tribune. The original silver gelatin prints from these historic archives have become available to the public as these journals have begun to digitize their image collections, through which Gaillard has searched over the last several years. Investigative reporters’ and photojournalists’ documentations of the aftermath of disorderly situations and disasters, both natural and manmade, at first appear as fully intact archetypes, but closer inspection of these images reveal layers of interference, such as editor cropping notes, masking, creases and other marks, that mimic the physical subversion of the subject matter depicted therein.
The archive is arranged as a network presented in uniform frames, united by the application of the artist's re-appropriated insignia of “Chief Wahoo,” the red-faced icon of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, to each image. Gaillard's fast, almost reckless application of the cartoon motif to these calamitous scenes seeks to reposition and reclaim the identity of the laughing mascot by pairing it with images of civilization in states of ostensible disarray, driving home the brutal fact of accident, eradication and morality.
Exhibited alongside the structural photographic compositions are frottages - rubbings pulled from manhole covers found in roads and sidewalks across the globe. The oversized works on paper crudely track Gaillard’s extensive inner-city treks and feature his own handprints and knee impressions as he works quickly on site, employing graphite against iron plate. Onto the same sheets of paper that have traversed the various continents, Gaillard rubs into existence the “GATES” - thresholds to the underground world of sewers, gutters and drains uniting cities as diverse as Louisville, Kentucky or Washington DC with Tehran. The double frottages are produced using that most basic of art mediums: graphite, a crystal ore rich not only in the tradition of art history but also technology and industry.
Gaillard was born in Paris and lives and works in Berlin and New York. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of major international institutions, including: Julia Stoschek Collection in collaboration with K20 – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; MoMA PS1, New York; Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Zollamt, Frankfurt am Main; and Kunsthalle Basel, Basel.