Past Present Perfect
Past Present Perfect is an invented part of speech to accompany this exhibition, based on an imagined future. Thinking of the gallery of as a museum of the not-yet-happened, the works on display are investigations or encounters with fragments of dishware based on a future when we have forgotten what to do with them.
There is a large drawing, a table setting for eight. Graphite has captured the migrations of soup bowls, salad plates, dinner plates, and dessert bowls. The drawing is the trace of action.
Groups of parentheses are captured in beeswax. On a closer look, the parentheses are slices of plates turned on their edges, giving a new perspective on the round forms we are so accustomed to using. Together these encaustics, representing sound waves, mimic a snippet of a conversation from a dinner party.
Employing or interrupting the technology of production, there is a wall display of just barely vacuum-formed wares. The taut forms accentuate the silhouettes of the lip of a bowl, a cup, a plate. These forms are abstracted to heighten the familiarity of the shape and dimension. While unrecognizable as use objects, they act as a homage to the form.
Finally, a wall of circles lines looks a bit like cuneiform in 3D, highly modeled with visible finger marks. Each of these delicate clay forms resembles a sophisticated child’s play. Creating a series of skeletons, each of these sculptures a vivisection or edge of a dish.
While the drawings and encaustics rematerialize the movement and the sound of a dinner party, the other works presented play with the silhouettes of dishes. The work grapples with Otto Neurath’s notion of a universal language and the development of the “isotype” (a system of silhouettes like the images of man and woman on most bathrooms doors), but rather than exemplify the commonality recognizable in objects, it problematizes the familiar and offers a new and different view.
Denied context, the raw materials of a dinner party (dishes, conversation, the performance of the objects) are rematerialized or reconstituted in different formats. These works have a curious and at times poetic distance from their source.
©Amber Ginsburg 2008-2015
amberginsburg [at] gmail [dot] com