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According to Salon 94, Terry Adkins is ‘an interdisciplinary artist and musician known for engaging with historical narratives, often reinventing and reintroducing biographies through installation based experiences called ”recitals”. His approach to art making is similar to that of a composer, and his installations are conceived as scores that punctuate and demarcate space, creating interplay among pieces in different media’

Nenuphar is the title of the work he is currently presenting and it consists of  a recital that treats the legacies of… are you ready?…because a lot of unnecessary information is on your way….as i was saying  ‘George Washington Carver (1864-1943) and Yves Klein (1928-1962), focusing on unfamiliar aspects of both men. On the surface, the biographies of Carver and Klein could hardly be more different. Born a slave, American educator Carver rose to such prominence as one of the world’s most revered agricultural chemists and inventors that it has tended to overshadow his artistic advances. He was an award winning painter, musician and creator of numerous pigments, dyes and paints that were extracted from minerals in the soil of Tuskgegee, Alabama. Notable among them is the 1935 Dr. Carver’s Egyptian Blue 9th Oxidation, which matches an ancient hue found only on certain artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamen and approximates the color and pigment saturation levels of International Klein Blue (IKB). French Nouveau Realist Yves Klein is famous for his color experiments, monochromes, fire paintings, body works, performances and revolutionary ideas and essays. Nonetheless, his early influences from Eastern philosophical and religious doctrines, Japanese culture and Rosicrucian esoterism – traditions that form the foundation of his visionary project – are often downplayed or even denied in an effort to tout his impervious originality. Many of Klein’s innovative concepts can be directly traced to his study of The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Max Heindel and Klein’s own Les Fondements du Judo (The Foundations of Judo) 1954, which bears witness to the depth of his involvement with the Japanese belief systems on body and space’. Ok, at this point I got totally lost.

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Well, this show is an attempt from Adkins to draw the similarities between Carver and Klein. According to Adkins, ‘these include references to botany, agriculture, nautica, religion, music and ancient Egypt that are materially filtered through the sieve of the four elements (earth, fire, air, water)’. Not happy with just comparing, Adkins comes up with a new process (of his invention) called  “potential disclosure” where ‘the artist aims to reveal the dormant life in inanimate objects, historical facts and figures of thought with the ultimate goal of rendering the material immaterial. For example, in Harvest, irregular spheres of mirrored glass have been hand-blown through the wire teeth of an apple picker—a found farm tool used as a readymade. The gesture of breath into the mouth of the harvesting device instills the rugged tool with handmade minimalist sculpture, and suggests a re-invention of the tool as a collector of “air” and the immaterial. The sculpture also marries Klein’s interests in the Void, the monochrome, minimalism and performance, alongside Carver’s research and promotion of alternative crops to enrich the soil and as a way for farmers to improve their quality of life outside the monoculture of cotton’. Am I going crazy or people are honestly and truly losing the plot? This is ridiculous, pretentious and boring. What the hell?

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at Salon 94

Until January 11th