Galerie Nordenhake presents ‘Forms of Abstraction’, Gerard Byrne’s first solo exhibition in Sweden. Gerard Byrne’s art practice utilizes video and photography to question the ways in which images are constructed, transmitted and mediated. His work examines the modes and conventions of image making and analyzes the mechanics of representation itself. Influenced by literature and theatre, Byrne’s work consistently references a range of sources, from popular magazines of the recent past to iconic modernist playwrights like Brecht, Beckett, and Sartre.
The works presented at Galerie Nordenhake all in some way stage the act of representation, contrasting the information presented in the image with supplemental textual information. Forms of Abstraction is a reference to the legibility or illegibility of lens-based images. Each work suggests a play with the discrepancies, fragmentation and incompleteness of each representation. By doing so Byrne proposes the idea that all representations are abstract.
‘*ZAN -T185 r.1: (Interview) v.1, no. 4 – v.2, no. 6, 19 (1969 -Feb. 1972); (Andy
Warhol’s (Interview) v.2, no. 21 – v.3, no. 9′ 2007 is a video installation presenting a series of reconstructed interviews which were made with aspiring New York based actors at the New York Theater Workshop in May 2007. Neither documentary nor fiction, ‘*ZAN -T185…’ was shot by cult cinematographer Chris Doyle. The interviews Byrne reconstructs with these actors derive from microfilm records held in the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and document interviews with peripheral ‘celebrities’ from early issues of Andy Warhol’s ‘Interview’ magazine from c.1974.
The exhibition includes a range of diverse photographic works of disparate and seemingly unrelated subject matter, all linked through a chain of captions that weave narrative connections across the works, mirroring the way newspapers use language to anchor photographic images. Byrne’s photographs are both unequivocally clear and strangely enigmatic at the same time. The related larger photographic work ‘One year four weeks and four days ago’ is a unique photographic document of a specific moment in the ever-changing display of a typical magazine newsstand. Referencing Walker Evan’s famous series of photographs of newsstands, the work counters the throwaway flux of photographic imagery with a unique photographic print, whose exact age is chronicled in an ever-changing title.
Also in the exhibition is Byrne’s newest work ‘1968/ Mica and Glass (temporally removed) or A counter-enthropic exercise in Epic Theatre’, demonstrated by workers from Statens Museum for Kunst. Presented here for the first time in its completed form on 16 mm color film, it is a motion-activated installation addressing the relationship between film, object and space – an attempt to reconfigure the spatial dynamics of Minimalism and Robert Smithson’s sculpture ‘Untitled (Mica and Glass)’ from 1968.
Gerard Byrne (b.1969) is a visual artist working with photographic, video, and live art. In 2007 he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. His work has been shown at international biennials including the Sydney Biennial (2008), the Lyon Biennale (2007), the 3rd Tate Triennial (2006), and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003) as well as in major museums in Europe and the US. Solo exhibitions of his work include the Dusseldorf Kunstverein (2007), the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2007), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003), the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2002). In 2006 he was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn award. He lives and works in Dublin.