X Initiative is pleased to present Today and Everyday, a photograph, a group exhibition and also a zine. Beginning with a 4 x 9” exhibition announcement, the distributed image is a photograph – an aesthetic still life arrangement composed of the objects featured in the exhibition. The objects pictured range from singular design objects to pieces of art extracted from larger installations and sculptural still lifes. Assembled for the camera, with no input from the participants, the photograph captures a moment when art, design, and commercial objects co-exist on the level ground created by the act of collection – “value” has been neutralized.
In the exhibition space, the artists have contextualized their work, sharing the space with the photograph, which will also be exhibited as a singular artwork. Beyond the obvious curator/artist transition laid out with the creation and inclusion of the still life photograph, the participants and the works themselves allude to the relational nature of art, commerce, form and function. Today and Everyday has been organized by Margaret Lee, and the exhibition features her first formal photographic work.
The relationship between Donna Chung and Sam Wilson’s sculptures, beyond sharing formal similarities in their representational nature, mirror a professional relationship. Untitled (watermelon) was included in Chung’s first solo installation at Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery, where Wilson is a co-founder and co-director. Similarly, Carissa Rodriguez splits her time as an artist and art dealer at Reena Spaulings Fine Arts, and has collaborated on projects as Reena Spaulings–the artist. Rodriguez’s Infinite Sign, a floating form without function, mirrors an ornament found above the entrance to New Jerseyy Gallery, Basel, where it was shown in her 2009 solo exhibition Cherchez La Ghost. Also from Cherchez La Ghost is the series Untitled (Luxury Problems) in which that season’s silk garment was digitally enlarged and selectively printed onto commercial signage material. Modern computing and its forerunner, the programmable loom, meet on a plane where the image renders transmissibility visibile. Josh Kline’s office installations emerge from the split between his art practice and his experiences working in arts offices (he currently produces public programming for EAI). Kline’s *Red Factory* is a ceramic pen and paperclip holder in the shape of a factory. It appears here as part of a larger desk installation that plays with recently dated fads generated by various creative industries: TNG circa 1989 / New Century Modern office circa 2002.
Also included are a number of works that blur the lines between artwork and consumer product. Shigenobu Twilight is a cedar based fragrance created by artist/writer Anicka Yi and artist/architect Maggie Peng, inspired by Fusako Shigenobu, leader of the Japanese Red Army, who was in exile in Lebanon for many years. In comissioning a “counterfeit”, the perfume in an art context appears as a bootleg in an installation that addresses bankrupt consumption and appropriation. Additionally, Yi/Peng’s video attempts to “re-make” Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil in the form of mystical biopic. The fragrance, though, has no political affiliations and exists as a functional, limited edition product sold in stores. Unlike the perfume, independent industrial designer Piet Houtenbos’ Black Hole Bowl has prohibitively high production costs and cannot be mass-produced. It exists suspended somewhere between designer object and minimalist sculpture. Olaf Breuning’s hand-dipped candles, originally produced to adorn hand carved wooden animals and tree-like sculptures featured in a 2005 installation, complete the still life and are the most direct reflection of the exhibition’s intentions. Breuning stands as the glowing example of a commercially successful contemporary artist and yet his offering is the show’s most ephemeral. In this project, candles, which were never intended to live out their conventional function, are required to stand on their own as such. With this move from art to function, and without the original installation, they have no art market value. More than a poignant reminder of impermanence and an ironic statement on markets, the literal illumination evokes a simple sense of affirmation.
Today and Everyday, in its closing and completion, ends in a memento. Margaret Lee has invited Used Future, a Basel based publishing house founded by Tobias Madison, Emanuel Rossetti and Dan Solbach, to curate and publish a zine, which is available for the duration of the exhibition. Used Future will have full curatorial control of the publication; an act of surrender and a playful pronouncement – “everything’s gonna be OK.”