Nudge, Nudge Me Do /////
Wednesday, March 23rd - Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
Klemens Gasser and Tanja Grunert invite you to Grayson Cox’s first solo show with Gasser Grunert, a collection of prints, places, aspirational architectural, and shunted points of purchase, culled and dyed into fabric with bleach, gives voice to the ominous appeal of corporate identity, of forms so singularly generic that they exemplify the disorientation of contemporary moral space. Nudge, Nudge Me Do points to a mass compliance that has transformed our built environment and our mode of navigation within it. On view is an evocation of soft corporate power without concrete intention.
In the bleached prints, each image is revealed through a process of removal, looking suspiciously as if it had always waited within the fabric, like an image on a shroud. The resulting images have a sense of being embedded, created inside the fabric as opposed to on top of it.
The bleached stains in the fabric pull the archetypal images into a gray area between physical embedded-ness and online incorporeity. Grayson Cox looks deeply at images accrued behind single search words, finding not the desired physical perspective or mode of depiction, but what is for him the archetypal form. In this now common method of image retrieval from the Internet, as images are categorized by a keyword, organized by concept, not physical location, their pools of association expand. This gaining of perspective via sorting of an infinite supply of the same type seeks an archetypal image. Grayson Cox uses this process to create narrative from the non-material archetypal form.
Grayson Cox alters the images mainly in passing them on, revitalizing them via a process of double negation; first by removing them from their original context of use and again in bleaching them into commercially dyed fabrics, leaving behind images in phantom colors indicative of the unseen chemistry of their manufacture. This 360 degree rotational displacement of the images mirrors the empty spaces they advertise. Corporate conference centers, cruise ships and overly prescriptive ergonomic chairs collapse the vagaries of individual orientation into a consummately palatable one-size-fits-all experience buffet. Here comfort and oppression are one in the same aspects of the over-determined space, instructing behavior, impressing postures of comfort, cooperation and control.
In the late 1950’s when more than 250,000 residents of the South Bronx were being displaced by Robert Moses’ automobile-centric reorientation of New York City towards the newly expanding suburbs, smaller, more focused studies on human disorientation were being pursued at the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Florida. Not unlike those exposed to Moses’ machinery, both unstoppable and detection-less in its advance, participants in the Pensacola studies found themselves overcome with motion sickness, physically unable to distinguish up from down, left from right. In motion sickness the eyes betray the ears. Rather the labyrinth of the inner ear, our main sensory system for spatial orientation and balance is overridden by the main organ it orients, the eyes. Once a fighter pilot’s malady, acceleration induced hallucinations seem universally relevant today when unrelenting visions of corporatization consistently outpace the constitutive radar of human agency. The Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor argues that contemporary moral space demands gyroscopic tools, which maintain their orientation to a single horizon, lest multiple conflicting horizons enchant us like the fighter pilot who accelerates towards the sea. Taylor’s thesis is simple: disorientation is not the problem of being a self in an undefined space; it is the much more fundamental problem of being an undefined self. Grayson Cox’s work suggests the ever present nudge that masquerades as it manipulates, seeming to bend to your every whim even as you find yourself in increasingly compromised positions.
Alison Guidry and Robert Rhee