Location: UCLA Perloff Gallery 
Type: Installation
Design Team: Katy Barkan, Sana Jahani, Hannah Hortick, Casey Knudsen, Philip Brown, Nick Miller
Date: 2019

© Joshua White Photography

6 Work Surfaces” considers the authority of formats of display and installation, by proliferating a series of noncompliant projections that point towards alternative readings and occupations of the gallery. Framed through the term “superposition”—the overlapping of elements that exist in multiple states at once, both merged and discreet—the installation puts forward reshuffled hierarchies of support and display, form and representation, materialism and abstraction, ground and ornament. Ultimately allowing for category errors, transpositions, and irresoluble differences to coexist. Yet, the relation of parts moves beyond binary doublings of thesis-and-antithesis, one-and-two (1), looking instead towards the amplifications and digressions made visible through coincidence and intersection. 

Beginning with the existing L-shaped Homasote walls of the gallery, the project unfolds a series of additional wall-figures that loosely organize and reorganize the establishing spatial sequences of the room. These new architectural fragments —suggestive of doorway, corridor, room, and stair—cast eccentric, red, carpeted, “shadows” about the gallery that run counter to the logics and forms of their origin. At times joined together and at other times allowed to drift apart, the horizontal projections and their vertical structures do not maintain strict dominant-submissive hierarchies. While the wall figures assert their elevational address, the carpets increasingly take on spatial and material qualities of their own, pushing back and competing for priority. Their horizontality marshalling “a different order of experience” (2), casting traces of architecture’s everyday materiality, its “endlessly horizontal proliferation of concerns” (3) about the space, to claim territories inside and outside of those set up by the white walls. High-pile burgundy and sheared orange carpets cover, drape, and ornament the gallery. Their presence—at turns abject and luxurious— domesticating the “neutral” space of display to suggest the possibility of alternative occupations and postures. The presence of one queering the other— turning it over, equivocating— placing, side-by-side, surfaces of work and thought that don’t strictly add up, but rather compound and refract to expand, distort, and undermine one another in unequal measure producing divergent architectural objects and alternative gestalts.

1. Luce Irigaray. This Sex Which is Not One. (New York; Cornell University, 1985.) p 26. “Whence the mystery that woman represents in a culture claiming to count everything, to number everything by units, to inventory everything as individualities. She is neither one nor two. Rigorously speaking, she cannot be identified either as one person or as two.”

2. Leo Steinberg, “Other Criteria: The Flatbed Picture Plane,” in Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972) pp.61-98. In his essay, Steinberg  writes “The flatbed or [horizontal] work-surface picture plane [is] the foundation of an artistic language that would deal with a different order of experience”, one that is distinct from the vertical picture plane of illusionistic painting, “as a criterion of classification it cuts across the terms ‘abstract’ and ‘representational’”. One can read the competing priorities of vertical and horizontal in the installation as enacting a tension Steinberg describes in Robert Rauchenberg’s “Bed” (1955), between “the vertical posture of ‘art’” and “our horizontality…in which we do our begetting, conceiving, and dreaming.” 

3. Helen Molesworth, “One Day at a Time” in One day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art ( Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, 2018) pp 32-33. “The everyday implies an endlessly horizontal proliferation of concerns, each with its own specific tonality, each with its own tributaries...It is to see it as an endless performance: the sowing and weeding, the selecting and arranging, the trimming down and discarding, the washing out of the slime out of the vase, the starting over again.”