In Histoires de votre vie the artists seem to be turning towards the spectator, to involve him or her in an album of anecdotal tales, suffused with underlying universal aspirations. The work of Darren Bader, Juliette Blightman and Matt Connors is characterized by personal choice, serendipitous encounters and time passing. Hence, Histoires de votre vie stays close to daily life and the symbolical regimes that are at work in our valuation of everyday things. It stages "slices of life" in an atmosphere of meditative contradiction, featuring objects or ideas that in most cases already belong to a world outside.
Histoires de votre vie takes its title from the book with the largest print run in the world, almost 200 million copies of it were distributed in 2010 alone. As a book, Histoire de votre vie is not a usual book of memoirs, but much a postmodern work of fiction, a “roman-photo” about an apartment building, the life of its inhabitants, and the objects they are surrounded by, vaguely mirroring George Perec's La Vie Mode d'Emploi — Histoires de votre vie being the French title of the 2011 catalogue of Swedish retailer Ikea.
The exhibition will feature new work by Darren Bader (Bridgeport, USA 1978), Juliette Blightman (Farnham, UK 1980) and Matt Connors (Chicago, USA 1973).
Darren Bader was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1978 and received his Film/TV + Art History BFA from NYU in 2000. His work has been exhibited in the US and abroad. Bader lives and works in New York City. Bader traffics in (perhaps)random images, lo-fi conceptual art (like making the proposal to pin a sandwich next to Balthus's The Mountain at the Met) and sculpture of the voila variety. It may not be possible to be more ostentatiously ambivalent about making art or exhibiting in a gallery than Darren Bader. He is preoccupied with the point of intersection between the real and the fictive. Hence his fascination with film, his interweaving of myth and personal narrative. Hence his use of real world objects, primarily food, as sculpture. Nothing is connected, and everything is. As far as Bader’s work goes though, a hypothesis can remain only that. He does not allow for decisive conclusions. Like any good mystery, it remains somewhat open ended, an enticing journey through portions of the artist’s interests, psychology and pathology.
Juliette Blightman was born in Farnham, UK in 1980 and received her BA Honours, Fine Art from Byam Shaw School of Art in 2003. Blightman lives and works in London and Berlin. Blightman’s works unfold in time and space like meditative, phenomenological narratives which—at first glance—may not exist at all. Extremely personal in nature, Blightman’s performances and films invite her audience on an almost filmic journey through a glossary of subtle gestures. She creates brief, bleached, deeply personal films as delicate as watercolours, and minimal performances. She also spins words into various shapes of deceptive simplicity. However, although a meditative, occasionally deadpan, atmosphere suffuses her work, something tougher binds it – an obsession with time and its contradictions. Using film and direct yet subtle interventions in the gallery space, Blightman's work frames and enacts a certain kind of unadorned reality. Within a structure marked out by deliberately simple gestures, the marking of time gradually gives way to a sense of epiphany. The work Six weeks of silence that Juliette is presenting for this show consists of two parts, one of 43 seconds and one of 13 seconds, that are screened with a six week interval. The film references time through an event that occurred to Juliette. She was filming at an opening in Berlin when her camera suddenly broke down after 43 seconds. During 6 weeks the camera did not work until one day when she sat at a Berlin cafe where it started filming again for 13 seconds.
Matt Connors was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1973 and received his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006. Connors lives and works in New York and Berlin. Connors’s paintings are scruffy, minimal and coolly cerebral. He employs various tropes of modernist abstraction, from bright, geometric compositions to filmy washes to wavering grids and stripes. Connors is focused on the process of art production and display and references stylistic conventions drawn from recent art history. Out of small incidents and gestures as a crooked rectangle, a scuffed surface or a doodle writ large, Connors has devised a painterly language that is smart, original and stealthily persuasive. Modernism is much on Connors’s mind. The grid, the monochrome, the minimal, the concentric and the parallel are all given a nod, but also a wink. There’s a cheerful secondhandness, a sense of vague appropriations and unnamed sources at work. And abstraction is considered as a kind of object.
Review by Anne-Marie Poels in HART #87 p.29