David Kordansky Gallery is very pleased to announce its second exhibition of new work by Elad Lassry. The show will be held at Gallery 2. It will reflect an expansive sense of the picture as an ontological category, one in which a viewer’s customary associations with familiar forms are exposed to physical and perceptual paradoxes.
Lassry has increasingly looked to diverse media––including drawing, sculpture, and performance––to test current possibilities for engagement with pictures. In each case, the ability to recognize a given subject presents itself as a faculty on the verge of failure, a dissonant constellation of formal characteristics and competing cultural histories. By incorporating objects and immersive situations into his practice, Lassry blurs the boundary between the tangible and cognitive experiences of a picture. As such, his work is indicative of the way in which the virtual defines contemporary culture, not merely on a technological level, but as an embodied mode of perception.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way Lassry has transformed the gallery space into a tool to activate specific cognitive patterns. A long, thin aperture in an otherwise obstructing wall provides a view into a partially enclosed space. Inside, a second wall has been built to half-height, its upper edge shaped into a series of wave-like forms that support painted wood objects. Seen in conjunction with the row of pictures that hangs behind it, this wall-sculpture suggests that the space of the picture is neither wholly flat nor wholly dimensional, but a fluctuating quantity that collapses and expands depending on movement and context.
In Lassry’s work, picture and object alternate as framing devices for one another. Framing is revealed as an integral––and sometimes dominant––facet of any composition. For example, a sculpture that resembles a small bed has been constructed from wood reminiscent of the frames that often distinguish the artist’s photographs. Adorned with four crosses, it simultaneously tempts and denies a host of readings: the functional and symbolic possibilities of the artwork are communicated precisely when and where they disrupt one another.
Similar issues are raised by a group of charcoal drawings on view. Here, Lassry alludes to the photographic precisely by undermining its status as the go-to medium for the making of pictures. In these depictions of ornamental and ephemeral objects, the cultural mediation of the photograph confronts the immediacy of the hand. As a result, it becomes impossible to fix agency to the images, and a supposedly ‘trustworthy’ medium like drawing is subjected to the doubt usually reserved for techniques like digital manipulation. Analog images are shown to be haunted by pixels.
Mediation is explored perhaps most radically in Untitled (Presence 2005), a performance work featuring members of the New York City Ballet that has taken place at an off-site theater before the opening of the exhibition. While dance and questions associated with the notation of choreography have previously served as subjects for the artist’s films, this work directly challenges the role of documentation in conceptual practices. Rather than asking one picture to stand in for another, Lassry insists that the performance function by virtue of its absence. He anchors tangible artworks in an elusive experience to which direct access can no longer be granted, and reveals how even physical spaces are permeated by the virtual.
Elad Lassry’s work was recently featured in ILLUMInations, the International Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, and this year will be the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway; Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Fondazione Galleria Civica, Trento, Italy; and The Kitchen, New York. Solo exhibitions have also been held at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland; the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; and Tramway, Glasgow. Recent group exhibitions include Beyond. International Curator Exhibition of Tallinn Month of Photography, KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia; The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum; Secret Societies. To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silence, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and CAPC de Bordeaux; Time Again, SculptureCenter, New York; Les Recontres d’Arles 2010 / Edition 41, Arles; and New Photography 2010, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Images courtesy of David Kordansky, Los Angeles. Photos by Brian Forrest.