Johan Zetterquist

09 Jan - 06 Feb 2010

"Studies For A Monument"

Opening Friday, January 8th // 7pm
Exhibition January 9th - February 6th, 2010

Invaliden1 is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by the Swedish artist Johan Zetterquist. The artist, whose work is being shown at the Göteborg Museum (Sweden) until January 10th, is one of the most stimulating of his generation. His oeuvre extends over a wide range of media from photography to drawing, sculpture, and installation. His current exhibition includes work related to his series, “Proposals For Public Art,” initiated during his residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2003).

Zetterquist ́s work is rooted in a socio-cultural critique and employs the concepts of “monument” and “public art.” Formally, his pieces are inspired by “aesthetics of the revolution.” The influence of Situationism can be observed in Zetterquist ́s work with text on the walls of exhibition spaces, or Russian Constructivism’s impact in his scale models for monument proposals. In terms of content, his work addresses the monument as a public symbol directly transmitted to the viewer. Every monument communicates a cultural message; monuments stage a certain aspect of the culture to be remembered, seen, conserved, and recalled. In this sense, as Alois Riegl pointed out, monuments as cultural—and institutional—speech do not belong to the past, but to every present which builds them up. Despite this, every monument reenacts a specific past and highlights certain social conventions, customs, and behaviors. As such, the monument functions as a projection screen for institutional wishes and obsessions.

“Studies For A Monument” questions the turn of relative values into institutional speech by presenting a personal monument. A black fence placed in the middle of the white cube gallery is construed as a ruin and surrounded by a series of drawings. A ruin is architecture in decay, and its death, so to speak, has been idealized since the Romantic period. By juxtaposing the black fence and the drawings, Zetterquist highlight this paradoxical use of contrived ruins, constructed for the express purpose of decay.

The series of drawings entitled “Death Stairs” presents medium format images of indoor spaces protagonized by stairs. The artist ́s aesthetic sources originate in the eye’s experience. Zetterquist made the drawings from the natural in his travels or appropriated them from films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958).

Text: Cristina Navarro

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