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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Paradox in Language: What I look at is never what I wish to see

  • Author(s): Unzicker, Allyson
  • Advisor(s): Carson, Juli
  • et al.
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Paradox in Language: What I look at is never what I wish to see is written in context with a group exhibition curated at the University Art Gallery, featuring the work of Charles Gaines, Benjamin Verhoeven and Erika Vogt. This project investigates the influences of various strains of conceptual thought that began to take form in the early 1960s when the influences of Structuralism, including the theories and methodologies of Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes, became increasingly important to visual analysis including the many forms of conceptualism from the 1960s to present. These three artists form a constellation of varying practices that consider the aesthetic strategies of Conceptualism and Structuralism and the challenges that lie in the pursuit of pictorial representation. Paradoxically, language is both inside and outside meaning.

Charles Gaines' (b.1944, U.S.) invents a set of rules for randomizing appropriated texts which he then draws out onto paper. Through this undoing of language, the meaning of the original text is reconstructed allowing a space for the viewer's interpretation to enter. This relationship between the text as image and image as text poses the question: When language is present, what is absent? Benjamin Verhoeven (b.1990, Belgium) appropriates scenes from films such as Antonioni's Blow-Up in his series Scanning Cinema. These films are re-interpreted by scanning them in real time, creating a distorted echo of the original. Influenced by early experimental and Structuralist films, Erika Vogt (b. 1973, U.S.) creates installations that include video, drawings, and sculptures. Nonlinear logic and abstract concepts are characteristic of Vogt's practice which is grounded in both experience and process.

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This item is under embargo until April 11, 2021.