Lehmann Maupin presents Peak, an exhibition of new works by Tony Oursler, on view at 201 Chrystie Street, 7 October – 4 December 2010. Peak continues the artist’s exploration into the ways in which technology affects the human psyche. Focusing on humankind’s obsessive relationship to computers and other virtual platforms, the works in this exhibition are microcosmic scenes that convey the varied nature of these relationships, such as obsession, escapism, isolation and sexual fetish. The installations reference dynamic systems and models, such as flowcharts, Rube Goldberg machines and astronomical orreries. Oursler’s projections combine glass, clay, steel and other raw materials with a synthesis of performance language and rhythmic editing.
Oursler explores Masahiro Mori’s “The Uncanny Valley”, which theorizes that as inanimate objects become closer in appearance to the human form and face, mankind will find them increasingly disturbing and therefore cast into the realm of the uncanny. Oursler redefines Mori’s theory by investigating our contemporary Internet usage, viewing the Internet as a mechanical reflection of our human psyche, inducing a compulsive relationship despite its disturbing effect. The dynamic developing between humans and the virtual apparatus becomes and is an epistemological mirror of the human consciousness and, thus, is uncanny in its nature. Peak at Lehmann Maupin Gallery will be timed with Oursler’s Valley, the inaugural exhibition of the Adobe Museum of Digital Media. Both of these exhibitions investigate and evoke the realm of the uncanny, drawing upon the interpretations of Ernst Jentsch, Sigmund Freud, and Masahiro Mori. For more information on the Adobe Museum of Digital Media visit www.adobemuseum.com
Tony Oursler is known for his innovative combinations of media, sound, and performance in order to investigate the relationship between the individual and mass media system. His new exhibition continues this practice, employing lights, language, drawings, and installations. The use of drawing, previously seen in his 2007 exhibition at Lehmann Maupin, is an essential part of Oursler’s creative process. Oursler uses drawing as a way of capturing an idea and a means of remembering, associating, or layering thoughts. Tony Oursler’s work explores the relationship between the individual and mass media systems with humor, irony, and imagination. He received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1979. In 2010 Oursler presented Lock 2, 4, 6 an immersive exhibition at the Kusthaus Bregenz in Austria, which took over three floors of the museum and recently, his retrospective exhibition Dispositifs traveled from the Jeu de Paume in Paris to the DA2 Domus Atrium in Salamanca and the Kunstforeningen in Copenhagen. In the Fall of 2010 Oursler will present a solo exhibition curated by Paulo Venancio at the Centro Cultural Oi Futuro in Brazil. Oursler is the first artist to have an exhibition in the Adobe Museum of Digital Media, which launches October, 2010. In a response to Gustav Courbet’s The Artist’s Studio, Oursler exhibited Studio: Seven Months of My Aesthetic Education (Plus Some), featuring a multimedia installation, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Curator Robert Storr included Oursler’s sculptures in the acclaimed 2004 exhibition Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque at SITE Santa Fe. His work is represented in numerous U.S. museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as the Tate Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among other prestigious private collections worldwide. Tony Oursler lives and works in New York.