Saturday, February 24

one million soaps

Sweet Bouquet, Boardwalk, Dial and Ivory

This is the closest so far I've come to not lying about one million of one thing in a piece of art, which, it turns out, is still a remarkable lie even at nearly 10,000.

Bild 20: Pure Paint

A soap drawing to greet the installation, like an appetizer.

The entryway to my 'Project Space' room in a corner of Swarm gallery, Oakland CA
Traveling Bild 2: Richmond to Oakland in the background

After the success of the first traveling bild to Chicago, I decided to keep the performance going. Without being caulked in styrofoam, however, Traveling Bild 2 suffered some rough treatment in the belly of the plan, returning to me with several broken soaps and an official document proving its torture.

Nearly 100 marble trophy bases mingled with the soap

one million minutes of work, but only four hot glue gun burns on my fingers.

I almost bit off more than I could chew with this one, even though I was there more than a week. I need to get an assistant...

I am sharing Swarm gallery with California artist, Michael McDermont, who is showing in the main space.
This was my favourite sculpture of his until he brought in the one you will see next

Michael McDermont, "My California"
Here you can see my soaps peeking out over the top of the wall trying to catch a glimpse of this awesome sculpture

Michael is my height and about my age and dark haired so we naturally became friends based on immediate superficial bonds.

and this is the statement i wrote for the show, abridged by the gallery director, Svea Lin Vezzone

Pure Paint

Like other “Bild” installations the artist has created, Bild 20 is a collection of found objects transformed into a sculptural painting. Bild means "picture" in German and connotes phonetically the construction of something architectural or sculptural in English. This installation describes the level of this dichotomy well, encompassing thousands of hotel soaps and nearly one hundred marble trophy bases. Each bar of soap, by virtue of its white rectangular surface is an automatic canvas, a pure readymade surface gessoed but not yet painted on, or like an ideal Minimal object, finished and pure in its reduction of detail (as emphasized in the two "Soap Drawings” on the outer walls).

Despite the strange difference in materials between soap and marble, the two types of small rectangular objects make a new kind of logic together. While the shapes speak of the relatively recent legacy of Minimal art, the marble offers a direct connection to what was once considered the highest medium of sculpture since the Renaissance. Glued directly to the wall these objects not only insert themselves in the site where we expect paintings to be (the white wall of a gallery) but seen in aggregate they form reference to the Modernist grid painting. This grid is further corrupted by a textual structure lying underneath. In cursive pencil the words "Pure Paint" are mirrored from the center of the wall (pencil lines still visible near the edges where the soaps begin to separate) and form the template for the soap/marble grid to follow. While effectively jostling the grid into an unpure version of perfection, the symmetrical design was used to further confuse the ideals of Modernism and Minimalism by creating a decidedly Baroque pattern of swirling excess. Coupled with the vertical edge placement of the objects the effect is of a cathedral design or a chapel's organ pipes pointing to heaven, ironically displacing the transcendental goal of Modernism with that of centuries earlier.

Modernist painting was about being enveloped in an emotional life experience in front of the work. Duchamp criticized such artists as "olfactory" and "retinal," obsessed with the smell and look of oil paint. Bild 20 pokes fun at both by striving to provide a sublime experience undercut by ordinary objects and by replacing the scent of oil paint with an almost oppressive sweetness of hotel bathroom scent.

Thus Pure Paint is both and neither. In a way, Bild 20 subverts the very art historical references it pretends to champion. The marble is not high sculpture like Michelangelo, but dissected bowling trophies. The soap is only pure in its pun as a cleaning agent, its content is far from pure as multiple references and images will flood any viewer’s interpretation.

- Jared Lindsay Clark


stackingchairs said...

Oh my holly goodness! I can die now that i have seen this bild. Possibly the most beautiful thing i have ever seen in my life. Thank you.

D/B/c/m said...

BEAUTIFUL! don't forget to call us. 562.208.1380

heatherlynn said...

holy. "sweet bouquet" is incredible and the write-up is so very well written. awesome. thanks for sharing. fave line: "a decidedly Baroque pattern of swirling excess".

Nate Housley said...

less talk more rock!
Just kidding xo bob

aliisha said...

this is great. i loved what you wrote. well done

valerie_molnar said...

holy cow jared!!!!!!!! amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing

Elliott said...

I love the soap.
I'll be in Arlington from the 1st to the 3rd.

robandsara said...

Wow! Jared Clark...
You are incredible. I love the soap stuff. The airline notice made me chuckle. I sure miss you!- Sara