What we may know from abstract painting is that it deploys form in order to steal experience away from the present, showing perhaps that the experience of real things is often concealing their nature. If we could somehow disentangle ourselves from the presence of existing things, then their characters might begin to show a more secret character–proposing something more enjoined, beyond appearance or analysis–but described as a direction for thinking nevertheless. Forgiven and exposed at the same time, things could be allowed to betray their utility and become open to reformation. Historical events could become part of a felt intersection between bodies and time. In this way art could alter the “facts of existence” and the prepared program of life coerced into a tool to make new agents–able to affect the contingencies that modify the agreements we have with life by stopping life’s progress. As inactive, life can appear outside of any capacity to function, and therefore become spared from the emptiness of utility.
Doug Ashford is an artist, teacher and writer based in New York. He is Associate Professor at The Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art where he has taught sculpture, design and interdisciplinary studies since 1989. Ashford’s principle visual practice from 1982 to 1996 was the artist’s collective Group Material, which produced over forty exhibitions and public projects internationally. Since 1996 he has continued to produce paintings, essays and collaborative projects that engage sociality in artistic form. Recent exhibitions of paintings and installations include the Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011); “Abstract Possible”, Malmo Konsthall, the Museo Tamayo, Tensta Konsthall and other locations (2010-12); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012). A collection of essays, Doug Ashford: Writings and Conversation, (Mousse Publishing, 2013), was published on the occasion his recent exhibition at Grazer Kunstverein,(2013).
Invited by Jesper Alvær.
Wednesday 29. January 2014
7pm, KhiO’s Main Auditorium
Fossveien 24, Grünerløkka, Oslo.