Installation View, Establishing Shot, Artists Space, 2004.

Catalogue cover, Establishing Shot, Artists Space, 2004.

Establishing Shot
March 9 – May 1, 2004

Artists: Blake Rayne, Carlos Motta, Dee Williams, Gareth James, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Carten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija

In film terminology, an establishing shot defines the opening sequence of a scene. Setting the mood, tone, place, and time for the events to unfold, the establishing shot is inextricably linked to the narrative that follows. Driven by the desire to be as precise as possible, it is often marked by a failure to complete its task. Ultimately, it derives its potential from the friction between its formal qualities – a single, presumably directly intelligible shot – and its function within the narrative sequence.

This exhibition serves as an "establishing shot" for the following season, comprising a mixture of emerging and more established artists to highlight shared trajectories and concerns. It aims to reinvigorate debate about the different possibilities in defining emerging contemporary artists within the parameters of recent historic practice. It also addresses the potential friction between external narrative function and internal formal resolution, focusing on works that contain a split between their thematic concerns and material manifestations.

Engaging themes as diverse as the political realities of kidnapping in Latin America, the history of painting, and systems of order, rationality, and enlightenment as signified by the natural sciences, all of the works in Establishing Shot are at once hypothetical and deeply concerned.

Blake Rayne presents two new paintings that continue his ongoing dialogue with the history of modernism in painting—from Manet to Gerhard Richter—and aim to test the values and operative potential inherent to painting. Carlos Motta presents a large-scale photo installation incorporating digitally manipulated images of over 500 missing people downloaded from the internet. By using digital manipulation strategies to abstract the appearance of the images, Motta at once points to the materiality these images now possess—as found exclusively on the internet—, and introduces as test of visual dis- and reappearance. Dee Williams is included with two photo/text series that investigate larger structures of order and rationality, historical truth, and the construction of history by focusing on small details—streets in Berlin named after natural scientists and the republication of an 1840s daguerrotype. Gareth James presents a sculpture that is informed by his recent collaborations under the art world persona Storm von Helsing. Representing a first attempt of offering a portrait of von Helsing, James work brings up questions of collaboration and the operations at work in producing both the role and practice of the artist. The collaborative films Vicinato and Vicinato 2 by Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija engage concerns of authorship, creativity, and experimentation in an elegant and philosophical manner.