Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Interviews transform into collages of fictional dialogues

The first ever North American museum show of Alexandre Singh’s works is an ambitious presentation comprised of the world-renowned artist’s latest series of amazing Assembly Instructions.

Entitled ‘The Pledge', the project at the Drawing Center takes interviews the artist did throughout the year 2011 with several noted scientists, writers, filmmakers and artists, transforming them into fascinating fictional dialogues vivaciously  visualized according to his signature format of captivating collaged photocopies connected by many hand-drawn pencil dots on the wall. His fictionalized and spatialized interview series fully fills the Main Gallery. It positions drawing not merely as a dry physical gesture, but more as a graphic conduit for the intense imaginative process.

Curated by Claire Gilman, the exhibition is some sort of psychedelic installation, though more subdued one. To make it, Singh first interviewed the ‘Groundhog Day’ screenwriter, Danny Rubin; neurobiologist and Rockefeller University researcher Leah Kelly; Alfredo Arias, a playwright and director from Argentina; Donatien Grau, a French critic; Simon Fujiwara, an artist; curator Marc-Olivier Wahler and filmmaker Michel Gondry.

Versions of these interviews that start out addressing key topics incorporating narrative plus the very nature of cognition, in a way meander into quasi-fictional, free-associative territory. They can be read as handouts even as one wanders through the venue. Black and white inkjet prints of several collages Singh did in response to these interviews have been arranged like schematics and maps on the walls.

It’s indeed a sleek display that vibrates with images from theater, cinema, art and science, which have been skillfully scanned from magazines and books, and then juxtaposed with each other in a format of classic collage. Art historical references sure are legion: the Independent Group, Peter Blake, Dada, Surrealism; science documents and the aesthetics of ’60s Conceptualism; and the recent conceptual photos by Roe Ethridge and Christopher Williams.

‘Alexandre Singh: The Pledge’ is on view at the Drawing Center located at 35 Wooster Street, SoHo.

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