Real Fine Arts is pleased to present Hogg, an exhibition of new work by Sam Pulitzer. The show’s title is borrowed from Samuel Delany’s controversial novel of the same name, setting a narrative foundation to the perennial themes – such as happiness, love, sorrow, age, self-fulfillment, mortality, etc. – alluded by the largely photographic work on display.
A series of 15 photographic collages join together a wealth of mainstream and subcultural sources into a sequential format. They recall a scrapbook or blog-roll, focused on the subject-generating movement between youth and acculturated adulthood. Familiar scenes of communal activity set within seasonal tableaux are superimposed with images that range invariably between aggravated, euphoric, or melancholic alienation. As suggested by the show’s title and other works in the exhibition, this potentially conflictive montage is buoyed psychologically by less readily identifiable desires fissuring from politically unsettled yet commonly held notions of gender, race and class relations.
Aside from the title, a series of colored wall texts also refer specifically to Delany’s novel. As the novel nears closure, the teenage character Denny Harkner commences a homicidal rampage – spurred on by either a botched genital piercing or a frustratingly interrupted orgasm – that results not only in the death of 3 dozen men, women and children but also, at the scene of his last murder, the idiom “all right” is written cryptically and hastily in blood.
For the last component of Hogg, Pulitzer has slightly modified the gallery’s 4 walls by drilling a 1” diameter hole into each one and then inserting a decorative ear gauge sized to plug up these new holes.
Given the lack of formal unity between its various components, Hogg is not to be understood as an installation in the familiar, spectacularized sense. The work on display seeks a wholly opposite movement away from totalizing gestures. Instead, it views contemporary spectacle in macguffin-like fragments. Potential meanings generate narratives between the unavowed desires sublimated in familiar imagery, objects, and environments. Piece by piece, the enveloping body of spectacle is opened up to libidinal reconsideration.