Opening Reception: September 19th, 6-8pm
Josée Bienvenu Gallery is pleased to present "Bind", Jonathan Callan’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. In this new body of work, the British artist continues to explore the relationship of disembodied knowledge to embodied experience and materiality. Perhaps because of his critical preoccupation with language and its limitations, Callan often works with text - books, maps or photographs - as a source material. His methodology consists of amplifying the physical aspects of the object by embedding, dissolving, cutting, scratching, folding or punching until the original form is barely identifiable. Through this sometimes violent, often obsessive process, Callan develops a system of inquiry, which both drives the work and generates meaning.
Text, as a carrier of second hand information, is turned into an object of first hand experience. "Falling" is the most literal transformation: fragments of a book, "Planetfall: New Solar System Visions ISBN 978-1-4197-0422-2", are embedded in plaster panels, and the overall work resembles an expanding complex of planets and stars.
Access denial is one of Callan’s favored strategies. In "The Solution", books that form the footprint of the mountain are held in sedimentary layers. "Flowers Arranged" and "Sweden" are entombed books, monuments to themselves. Linear fault lines - the edges of the paper - are all that remain visible. Access to information is also denied in "Cosmos" and "China", where entire books are cut into strips and wound upon themselves. The spiral shape alludes to other forms of data storage - vinyl records, hard drive disks and scrolls.
"Bind" is a floor installation composed of 116 books taken apart with pages folded in on themselves, rather like the paper a diamond dealer uses to hold stones, or the paper a cocaine dealer might use for individual wraps. The pages are bound with cable ties, the manacle of choice for the modern military. The piece is laid out as raised furrows, or a larger illustration of badly justified typography. The taxonomy of this random library is almost entirely physical with a certain degree of menace.
"24 Sculptures from Richard ISBB 978-1-91702-37-8" is a personal workshop in memory and perception. The catalog of Richard Tuttle's solo show is transformed into 24 wall sculptures. Callan first saw Tuttle’s work in the flesh in 1980, it was a tiny piece of rope occupying a huge wall. This work is in remembrance of that. Remembering it 24 times, or as long as the catalog gave out.
"We Are Also Too Many" is a visual counterpoint to the rest of the show. The graphite drawing sourced from images of walkers from different publications, reveals a human landscape at the point of collapse.
Born in Manchester, England in 1961, Jonathan Callan graduated from Goldsmiths College and lives and works in London. His works have been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout Europe and the United States. Recent exhibitions include: Wesleyan University Museum, Boston, MA (2012); Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands (2012); John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI (2010); Royal Society of British Sculpture, London, UK (2010); Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI (2010); Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, OH (2008); Haifa Museum of Art, Israel (2007). His work is included in major museum collections such as: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The British Museum, London; The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK; Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, UK; The High Museum, Atlanta GA; The Leopold-Hoesch Museum, Duren, Germany; and Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ.