Balice Hertling

Sam Falls

25 Oct - 30 Nov 2013

Installation view
25 October - 30 November 2013

“Every object holds an objective. With every objective there are three points on the spectrum – the opposite ends and the center.

This show is composed of a few objects and three objectives, as is the case with most of my work: representation, process, and time.
With representation there is sign, index, and abstraction, and with time there is the past, present, and future.

The fabric wall pieces were created from pallets, the common denominator of shipping that defines transportation in terms of scale and weight, as well as process and function. They were suggested by location: the parking lot in which I made these in Pomona, outside of Los Angeles, is surrounded by pallet factories and shipping warehouses for everything from canned food to paper. So I acquired these pallets from the same block as my outdoor studio, and the substrates were then designated as moving blankets, which fits with the material use of the subject.

On each blanket is placed a pallet. The pallet is both universal, as a standardized size and exterior form is required for transportation, but also personal objects that represent time and degeneration, as they break and are fixed by people with scraps of wood from other pallets, making them unique. The moving blankets are composites of available textiles, all ordered from the same company in standard sizes, but the color varies depending on the available textiles at the time of production.

A different pallet is placed on each blanket and left outdoors for half a year, so the sun passing over the parking lot each day fades the fabric around where the pallet rests. The resulting images are essentially photographic, made with the exposure to light over time, but made without any chemicals or substrates. So its existence is unique, dependent on location, time, and weather – it’s photographic in theory but not in practice. The imprint remaining on the moving blankets are indexes of each individual pallet, but the sign is a uniform form designating just the pallet. The structure of a pallet is a grid within a square, and because they have been broken and repaired they become unique, making the grid function as an abstraction, removed from the image of the original subject.

The sculptures in the show function as diptychs composed of a part marble and aluminium, and a part marble and Corten steel. The marble, mined from the earth in Tunisia, is centuries in the making. The metal is also mined from the earth but fabricated by machines in a factory, just weeks in the making. The diptych functions both as a timeline and a memorial - they are essentially tombstones. The half of the sculpture composed of marble and aluminum will never change or rust, while the Corten steel oxidizes and rusts on the outside, depicting its exposure to nature, changing progressively over time. The marble gradually accepts the stain of the steel's rust, in a sense merging with the metal and abstractly imaging time passed. What you have is a constant and a variable: the beauty of organic and industrial as a constant on the aluminum part, and the beauty of changing material, the organic marble merging with the deteriorating steel. There is the purity of time, preserved immortally in the aluminum part of the sculpture, as well as the melancholy of accepting change as we age with natural decay in the marble half. As we change every day, so does the sculpture - we become witness to not only the continuous production of a piece of work, but also the abstract image of time.

The fabric wall pieces expose the weakness of photography in the face of art history. The fleeting instant of a scene captured on film or digital camera or photographic paper is instantly removed from reality. In contrast, these textiles not only harness an image over a long duration, they carry the sun and rain, an aura and a sense of place with them from the place they lived for a long time. They use an everyday industrial object and exhibit its unique personality, acquired through failure and repair; from the fight against degradation they become changed and useful again, just as we do in life. These images of grids and standardized forms look to minimalism and abstraction, while also employing organic processes juxtaposed with industrial material.

The sculptures are proposals for time: when set outdoors they become personal markers of history, the past being perfectly preserved in the aluminum sculpture, while the present continues to merge with the past, each day creating a new image in the oxidizing steel. They also look to minimalism and abstraction, but rather than existing in opposition to time and change, to representation and meaning, this sculpture becomes organic and personal, a growing timeline to witness until death.”

Tags: Sam Falls