Reception: Saturday, July 9 5-8pm

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DOCUMENT is pleased to present What Birds Can See, a group exhibition of works by James Collins, Rachel de Joode and Alwin Lay. The exhibition will open on July 9th with a reception from 5pm to 8pm, and will continue through August 27th.

In her 1956 essay “What Birds Can See,” French author Nathalie Sarraute defines the features of what would later be called the “nouveau roman,” a radically new approach to fiction writing. Sarraute’s main concern is a search for “the unknown, the invisible,” which assumes that plots and characters are composed of microscopic and parceled truths. The three artists in this exhibition share a desire to confound the viewer while at the same time investigating processes and searching for what lies beneath surfaces—the beyond of what we can see. They do so by intertwining the roles of analog and digital media in a manner that Charlotte Cotton, in a recent essay, has called “camouflage”: “Photographer, painter, sculptor, all three of these terms are highly abstracted and unfixed; they are forms of camouflage that provide artists with temporary positions and relationships within the history of art, but pointedly staged in the context of the present.”

James Collins (born 1972, lives in Detroit, MI) uses acrylic and oil paint to produce simulacra of distorted photocopies, scanned images and other types of reproductions, creating an illusion of dimensionality in highly graphic paintings. When it first appeared, photography troubled painting’s monopoly on the accurate transcription of reality. Collins reverses this achievement by copying the reproduced image, executing “mechanical reproduction” with a skilled hand and a precise chemistry of materials. On the surfaces of the canvases shown in this exhibition, the artist applied Tyvec, a house wrap material that is currently ubiquitous in his Detroit context.

Rachel de Joode (born 1979 in The Netherlands, lives in Berlin) works in rhizomatic flows between three-dimensional matter, its two-dimensional representation, and its ambiguous resemblance to human bodies. In this exhibition, de Joode presents an ensemble of digital photographs, abstract sculptures made of cut PVC board, and a ceramic sculpture that serves as a hook for another printed PVC sculpture. De Joode documents processes that may go into the finished object, experimenting fluidly across matter, media and their relationship to the artist’s hand.

Alwin Lay (born 1984 in Romania, lives in Cologne) examines the life of objects seemingly free of human presence. His contribution for this show is a ten-minute video of an invisible cube, placed on a pedestal of identical scale, gradually filling with blue dish soap. A digital photograph, shown alongside the video, shows us a paint roll fixed with a push pin, its handle suspended in the air. These works’ obsessive rationality makes them all the more absurd, in keeping with the artist’s characteristically dry humor, while touching on questions of perception and knowledge. It is ultimately autonomy itself—figured as images of illusory “objecthood”—that appears as a trompe l’oeil in his work.

Geraldo de Barros

Geraldo de Barros was born in São Paulo in 1923 and lived there until his death in 1998. He started his career as a traditional painter, but began an intense period of experimentation with the photographic medium in 1946, which culminated in his Fotoformas exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in 1951. The exhibition was a watershed for Brazilian photography and led to de Barros receiving a scholarship to study engraving in Paris. While in Europe he travelled extensively, meeting influential artists and encountering key movements in art and design. He returned to Brazil and established a successful career as an artist and industrial designer. A key figure in Brazillian Concrete, Abstract and Pop art he was a founding member of many influential groups including Grupo 15, Galeria Rex, Grupo Ruptura. He established the design co-operative Unilabor and furniture company Hobjeto Industry. After a series of strokes de Barros began in 1996 to work on a series of collage works using his ‘leftover’ family photographs. Entitled Sobras, de Barros continued to work on the series until his death in 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1948, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Hommage à Picasso (from Fotoformas Series), 1949, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

John Opera “Technical Images” at Document

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
General Inquiries
info@documentspace.com

Gallery hours:
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.