Group show curated by Antone Könst
featuring :
Mathew Bushell
Austin Lee
Jon Merritt
Nicholas Steindorf
Maayan Strauss
Text by Jean-Baptiste Carobolante Translation by Alexandra Rancier
« Have you ever discovered something truly beautiful and suddenly experienced a profound sense of suffering that comes over you so quickly that you barely recognise it - because this beautiful thing that you are contemplating must be shared with someone who is not there. »
Jacques Abeille, Les Jardins Statuaires
The visitor who looks up, moves forward, rises and enters into Antone’s Sculpture Garden is about to experience dreadful solitude. Like the pilgrim, guilty of a belief in a superior universe, or the traveler, tormented by nostalgia’s burden, any visitor to this exhibit accepts her complete surrender to
the Virtual Dream Center, accepts to enter another reality, one that is deeper, burrowed.
No two people draw a tree in the same way, just as no one here can imagine Eden in its totality, as the perfect garden representing the ultimate destination of one and all. We all have a vision of what joy looks like, but no one can define happiness. To program a sculpture garden, pixel by pixel, seems akin to the obsessive task of rendering the horizon in our dreams, the most sublime point of view, and the most enrapturing works of art. To program such a garden, not only for one’s self, but for a visitor’s eternally solitary strolls, is to speak to this attempt to create the ultimate destination. The visitor who crosses Sculpture Garden’s threshold must become aware that she is not here to admire works of art and to understand a method, but must be forewarned that she will experience a virtual paradise whose every sculpture is as much a fantasy as its backdrop.
What separates a Maayan Strauss sculpture from the ground that supports it? Its’ a simple matter of effect, a matter of a medium traced over a virtual form. What happens to a sculpture by Nicholas Steindorf, dripping an undefinable liquid, when it is placed in this dream garden? It lives somewhere in the space between the symbolism of a naked adolescent, and the simple fountain stripped of all matter. Sculptures by Jon Merritt, Austin Lee, and Matthew Bushell aren’t made up of the tension of composing substrates, but are shown in their singular forms. They become here something indexical, something that brings us back to a pre- pubescent, primal age, when our hands were still unable to touch and our eyes perceived only gigantic shapes, tenderly leaning over our cribs, whispering nonsensical sounds. A sculpture reduced to a simple effect, an image we can navigate around and that our critical eye can only see as, finally, a foreign object, unconscious, is a dream.
In 1495, Michelangelo sculpted his Sleeping Cupid and buried it in his garden to protect it from censorship. When he dug it out, it resembled a perfect antique sculpture. Michelangelo sold it as an archeological artifact to the cardinal of San Grigorio, and thus the statue is considered art history’s first counterfeit work of art. Though striving to other ends, the process which welcomes us visitors to Antone’s Sculpture Garden belongs to the same archaic desire. The life principle that we are about
to encounter here belongs to a past that we pursue, without being able to experience it. The trees, grass and rails, the horizon and the works we are about to confront, must be taken as a desire for completion, imperfect in nature, of what we call a garden and what we name sculptures. We finally enter in an enormous archeological dig, in an eternal past that stretches before us. We are about to meet the titans and the primordial sun.
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