Gallerynote 4/2010

October 26 to November 27, 2010

Autumn Leaves
James Bishop (1927*), Joseph Egan (1952*), Richard Francisco (1942*), Robert Mangold (1937*), Giulio Paolini (1940*), Sylvia Plimack Mangold (1938*), Fred Sandback (1943-2003), Jerry Zeniuk (1945*)

“What is the meaning of a word? Let us attack this question by asking, first, what is an explanation of the meaning of a word; what does the explanation of a word look like?” (Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book)

What does an explanation of the word ‘art’ look like? Can it be assumed that mere references to some or many objects are capable of exemplifying the meaning of this word? Hardly. Rather, nameable candidates often furnish cause for dispute and dissent, at times engendering consensus and welcome agreement. Art has abandoned a reliable reference. Works in object form and a connection to art history are no longer necessary conditions. Nevertheless, the connotation of attributes of excellence remains resistant. The particular status of art is often readily transferred from the work to the person of the artist. It is striking how the attribution of the word has come into use with such frequency and as a matter of course. The apparent ordinariness and regularity of usage has left it discharged and empty. The mutation of the word art into something vacant and void, forthcoming and flexible, is a modern phenomenon. Yet this void is attractive and coveted. Considerable effort is made in order to make use of this designation, for the consequences are considerable. The imaginary field we are talking about can also be described as unmarked potential, lacking only in selectivity and delimitation.

Galleries are understandably important participants in the game revolving around this void, this potential. While the function and purpose of their activities are more or less defined, with their existence bound to a certain economic success, the gallery has the chance and the opportunity inscribe the said void with a face bearing its own individual expression. Personal and complex, interlaced with its own biography while not being arbitrary. If the time horizon is not too restricted, depth and substance, fidelity and loyalty can drive the zeitgeist into the margins. In this regard, perseverance and stamina should not be underestimated.

‘Autumn Leaves’ is the slightly melancholic title of our exhibition, showing groups of works by eight artists who joined the gallery between 1971 and 1992. They are eight individual artist personalities. Their work cannot be lumped together under a common thematic or even stylistic denominator. What brings them together is their connection to the gallery. As a participant in the contemporary art scene, we see our engagement as an independent and creative construction, as a precise manifestation of our ideas, experience and sensibility. Stringency and binding commitment stand counter to arbitrariness, with art and experience enabling the experience of art.

Current exhibitions

18.11.2010 – 10.4.2011
Richard Tuttle, ‘Triumphs’,
Dublin City Gallery, Dublin

31.10.2010 – 27.2.2011
‘Die Natur der Kunst’,
Kunstmuseum Winterthur

27.8.2010 – 30.1.2011
‘ganz konkret’
Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich

16. November 2008 – 2033
Sol LeWitt
A Wall Drawing Retrospective

Yale University Art Gallery und Williams College Museum of Art