Reception: September 12th > 5-8 PM

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Re-convergence (Algorithmic Archaeology)

Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream. I’m not, she said.

– Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America.

‘Sometimes classified as secret, private or public, […] draft or proof’, Sean Snyder’s exhibition originates from a fragment of the Wikipedia entry for the word “document”. Furthermore, it is defined as ‘any concrete or symbolic indication, preserved or recorded, for reconstructing or for proving a phenomenon, whether physical or mental.’

The exhibition addresses the status of a document and consists of a matrix of disparate elements registered in the artist’s memory. It attempts to address the status of image production at present. DOCUMENT’s circumstance as a gallery and a commercial digital service entity is inscribed in the mental conception and physical presentation of the exhibition, which generates an internal production – distribution loop. Simultaneously converting and re-converting a digital and a physical, a real and an ephemeral, a high art and a consumer product, the presentation questions the very stability of the lines of divisions, yet sketching the ground plans of something that can be reactivated and used as evidence. Through actively engaging with public institutions, the artist excavates historical data that would otherwise remain invisible.

Convergence, a Jackson Pollock painting from 1952, reproduced as a puzzle was purchased via ebay. The scattered pieces of the puzzle are displayed on a surface of horizontal structure (Horizontal Propagation, 33 cm height x 119 cm length x 99 cm width). The structure is scaled to 50 percent of the size of the original painting that hangs in the Albright Knox Art Gallery. The painting’s political dimension and its being an element of Cold war propaganda as a representative of ideology of freedom and American exceptionalism with alleged CIA involvement in promotion of Abstract Expressionism is now more than a rumor of art history, but is not yet documented. In order to produce a (framed) document, Snyder contacted the CIA via email and asked a question regarding the utilization of art as a weapon during the Cold War. A print of the automated response confirming the reception of the question is dis-played in Question To The CIA (Abstract Expressionism), (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 53 x 67 cm, 2015).

A vertical video projection traces the location of an intervention by Daniel Buren, Watch The Doors, Please!, commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago. The intervention was active from October of 1980 and continued for nearly two years. The project is not only credited as in situ, but in motion.

Snyder’s projection Vertical Traces, (HD data file, 1 minute 20 seconds, 2015) documents the location of the intervention visible from the exhibition space juxtaposing the images accessible at present via the online remote viewing technologies. The Google Earth searches represent the location as a rigid topographic scheme while the Bing search playfully animates the route of the transportation network with the rail lines rendered in gray and white, ironically reminiscent of Buren’s iconic stripes. Parallel to the projection, Snyder presents a transcript of a telephone conversation with METRA (Chicago’s public transportation network), inquiring about records of the process involved in arranging of the intervention by Daniel Buren. A number of departments were contacted before an inquiry was made to customer service main number. Transcript of Inquiry To METRA (Chicago Urban Transport), (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 42 x 29.7 cm, 2015).

An experiment in what might be speculatively referred to as institutional a(na)rcheology, a slide projection Three Incidents of Syncopic Analysis, (projected images, digital data transferred to 35mm slides, 2015) consists of the visual data (some images were loaned from the MCA-Chicago) of documentation of three selected iconic art installations and interventions that took place in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s as well as present evidence of their locations. Despite that DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery, the process oriented experiment Three Incidents Of Syncopic Analysis is not for sale.

Audio from an MRI scan, Radiographic Search (MRI), (13 min 21 seconds,  mp3 audio in mono, 2015) intertwines sound with image throughout the exhibition space. Snyder references binding of projected images with the repetitive machine noise of the image producing medical apparatus to a work by James Coleman (Slide Piece, 1972-1973). Devoid of any linear structure, the matrix of re-representations is intended to generate an echo of audiovisual memory from multiple perspectives as if it existed previously.

According to online data, the location of the former MCA and the AIC is 180 meters above sea level, while the location of DOCUMENT is 179 meters above sea level. A printed image of an iTunes offer to purchase John Cage’s 4’33” for 99 cents. 0.99€ (black and white archival pigment print on matte paper, 53 x 67 cm, 2015).

Exiting the elevator that leads to DOCUMENT’s exhibition space, viewers are confronted with an automated sequence from the video game Adventure. The data has been reformatted for a 16:9 monitor, the duration altered, and the beginning and end omitted to emphasize the maze-like structure of the game. (Adventure Fragment. Atari (Algorithm), (HD data file, 1 min 01 second, 2015). Conceived in 1979, Adventure contains a secret room or an ‘easter egg’ as it is now known in media theory, crediting the game’s programmer. The secret message that had been hidden by Warren Robinett in the already widely-distributed game challenged the Atari corporation’s policy of anonymity.

Another layer of displacement involves the data for the entire exhibition, which is digitally backed at an underground data center known as the Swiss Fort Knox. Embedded in the Swiss Alps, the hermetically sealed cache claims it’s resistance to any existing threat and is lauded as one of the preeminent IT-infrastructure facilities on earth. According to the company’s online profile it is known as Europe’s most secure datacenter.

With Re-convergence (Algorithmic Archaeology) Snyder’s constructed labyrinth of references, based on algorithmic structures may seem to follow an arbitrary logic, when it is a highly articulated orchestration of signs and interconnection of numbers. What might seemingly be floating on the surface, might turn out to be far more layered. In the book Trout Fishing In America a big sign said: USED TROUT STREAM FOR SALE. MUST BE SEEN TO BE APPRECIATED. What page it’s on supposedly depends on which copy is available.

He is represented by Galerie NEU (Berlin), Galerie Chantal Crousel, (Paris) and Lisson Gallery (London).

His current inquiries can be pursued at:

Special thanks to Olga Bryukhovetska, Pit Schultz, Darian Leader, Michael Scott Hall, Aron Gent, Sibylle Friche, Ruth Hogan, Hyun Jeung Kim, Andrea Giacobino, Will A. Smith, Karl Cool, Gilles Coudert, Daniel Buren, Steven Bridges, Bonnie Rosenberg, Robyn Farrell, Warren Robinett, Bernhard Schreiner, Matthew Pagett, Bettina Allamoda, Vesna Petresin, Alan Butler, Ina Blom, Daniel R. Quiles, and Chris Clarke.

Elizabeth Atterbury

Elizabeth Atterbury (born 1982, West Palm Beach, FL) lives and works in Portland, Maine. Recent solo and group shows include Kate Werble Gallery, The Portland Museum of Art, Mrs, The Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, kijidome, Boston, Document, Chicago, TSA, Brooklyn, Bodega, Philadelphia/New York, KANSAS, New York, and The ICA at Maine College of Art, Portland, among others. In the Middle, An Oasis, a monograph of her work, was published by Bodega Press in 2013.

She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from MassArt.

The Well, The Wall, 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

The Well, The Wall II, 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

Beach Woks (Marks of a Tool II), 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

Still Life with Popcorn and Pits, 2016 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Logogram III, 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

Logogram II, 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

Logogram I, 2016 Silver gelatin print 20 x 24 in

Sunny Side, FL (Tomb), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 12 x 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in

Sunny Side, FL (The Cut), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 13 1/2 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/4 in

Sunny Side, FL (Sunset Hedge), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 1 1/2 x 16 x 2 1/2 in

Sunny Side, FL (Small House), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 1 x 16 3/4 x 14 1/2 in

Sunny Side, FL (Bull Shark), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 2 1/2 x 18 x 1 1/2 in

Sunny Side, FL (Paper Cut / Hedge), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 10 x 9 x 1 3/4 in

Sunny Side, FL (Noguchi's Intetra, Mist Fountain), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 11 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 in

Sunny Side, FL (Lawn), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 9 x 9 in

Sunny Side, FL (Big House), 2016 Enamel paint, steel 16 x 18 x 6 in

Sunny Side, FL (Palms), 2015 Enamel paint, steel 17 1/2 x 11 x 16 in

Relief (China White), 2015 Plywood and paint 33 x 48 x 1 3/4 in

Moonlight on the river, 2014, chromogenic print 14 x 11 in

Slow Song, 2014, chromogenic print 14 x 11 in

Marks of a tool, 2014, silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Rake, 2014, Silver gelatin print 24h x 20w in

Ghost Tracks, 2014, Silver gelatin print 24h x 20w in

Black Beach, 2014, silver gelatin print 14 x 11 in.

Bones, 2014 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Glyphs II, 2014 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Glyphs, 2014 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Site, 2014 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Sculpture Park, 2014 Silver gelatin print 11 x 14 in

Bricks, 2013, chromogenic print 14 x 11 in

Harry, Henri, Sal, 2013, chromogenic print 14 x 11 in

Blue runner, 2013, chromogenic print 14 x 11 in


Frieze Magazine

April 2018

Bétonsalon & Fondation d’enterprise Ricard, Paris, France

Native to the islands of the Caribbean, the manchineel tree is known in the West by the name the conquistadors gave it. The manzanilla de la muerte – little apple of death – grows along the shore, its fragrant yet toxic green fruit tempting sailors newly arrived from the high seas.

The treacherousness of manchineels is evoked in the haunting, beautiful title of Julien Creuzet’s exhibition at Fondation d’entreprise Ricard: ‘All that sea distance, for the oil filaments of the manchineel to stop our heartbeats. – The rain made that possible (…)’ The other part of this dual show runs at Bétonsalon under a different title, extracted from the same poem, written by the artist. The Bétonsalon title begins ‘The rain made that possible’ and ends ‘All that sea distance’, such that the two follow one another in an endless cycle, like waves lapping upon the shore.

Julien Creuzet, 'La pluie a rendu cela possible' (The rain made this possible), 2018, exhibition view 

Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

The sea – what it brings and what it takes; what its distance separates and its depths conceal – is central to these exhibitions. The artist himself grew up in Martinique – which is to say that his identity, in part, has been defined by the great in-betweeness of the water, the outre-mer that separates France from its overseas administrative territories.

Each show is a constellation of objects that might have been deposited by a storm tide. Creuzet has previously referred to his whole-show installations as ‘archipelagos’, borrowing Edouard Glissant’s vocabulary of ‘mondiality’ – the influential Martiniquais philosopher’s notion of a global community that preserves diversity and difference. Clumped mattings of natural and synthetic materials are circled with threads that evoke both fishing nets and the paralysing tentacles of the Portuguese man o’war. (Named for the armed galleons whose wind-inflated sails their floating polyps resemble, the transparent tentacles of these colonies of organisms can extend for up to 50 metres underwater. They offer an apt metaphor for the insidious residues of European imperialism.) A nacreous shell balances on a slice of Nike shoe; a sponge, air-dried and desiccated, nestles next to a row of aeroplane seats that seem to have landed sideways from the sky on a new crossing of an old journey.

At Bétonsalon, Chinese-made plastic mats, woven with African patterns, fray like the tops of mangled sugarcane or grasses in the sand-dunes – overlayingcontemporary and historical trade networks, and the circulation of cultural signifiers in a hyper-connected world. Plastics, products of the petrochemicals industry that defines the global economy even as it threatens to destroy it, are conspicuously present here – although, as with the grassy mats and the green plastic beads scattered on the floor like sand-grains, they often evoke natural forms. Ecological questions are complexly layered with social ones.

Julien Creuzet, 'La pluie a rendu cela possible' (The rain made this possible), 2018, exhibition view 

Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

More than archipelagos, to me these exhibitions feel like mangroves: their trees evoked by the wrapped, vertical, twig-like forms suspended from the ceilings at both venues. They are filled with the mysteries and shadows that this edge-of-water zone holds in the Caribbean imaginary. Two ghostly, prone anthropomorphic figures, both black – a flattened silhouette at Bétonsalon and a mesh-wrapped baby with a face resembling an African mask at Fondation Ricard – recall the horrors of the middle passage, as well as more recent European tragedies of migration.

Both spaces resonate with the sound of the artist’s voice, as he incants songs drawn from the title poem. At Bétonsalon, a refrain repeats over a sparse melody: ‘Il faut refaire le tour […] il faut refaire le temps’. Creuzet, who often uses poetry and music in his work, is at his most mesmeric here, taking his words off the page and making them felt, physical. ‘We need to go back […] we need to remake time’: for all the violence and difficulty of his themes, I get the sense that Creuzet’s worldview, like Glissant’s, is generous, perhaps even hopeful. Maybe, in the thickets of the mangrove, there is a way forward together.

Main image: Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

Amy Sherlock is deputy editor of frieze and is based in London.

Aron Gent
Sibylle Friche
General Inquiries

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Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.