The School for Objects Criticized AE
April 30–June 25, 2016
Over the last two decades, contemporary art has seen a remarkable shift towards the performative. This change in emphasis from art-object to process is expressed in the current revival of performance art, site-specific and time-based projects as well as process-driven painting practices. Nevertheless, the boundaries between the spheres of visual art, theater, literature and film have remained remarkably intact.
French-born, UK-raised and New York-based artist Alexandre Singh’s practice blurs these boundaries in ways that are as surprising as they are rigorous. His idiosyncratic, playfully investigative spirit is manifest throughout his works. In the Assembly Instructions (2008-12), conceptual collages take the form of surreal flow-charts; The Marque of the Third Stripe (2007), is a gothic novella about the founder of Adidas and The Humans (2013/14), is a three-hour theatrical play reimagining the creation of the world. In Singh’s universe, the floorplan of an IKEA building serves as a map of all human knowledge and the lowest part of the lowest animal, a donkey’s rectum, is the secret dwelling place of the divine creator.
Here, Singh presents his installation The School for Objects Criticized AE – an earlier version of which was exhibited at the New Museum, New York and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. At first, it appears to be an elegant, theatrically-lit readymade installation in which seemingly banal objects – a bottle of bleach, a toaster, two cassette recorders, a derivative abstract sculpture, a stuffed skunk and a slinky toy – are presented on pedestals much like important historic sculptures are in museums. But the installation soon reveals itself to be an elaborate, dramatic set-up.