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Cheyney Thompson, Quelques Aspects de l’Art Bourgeois: Le Non-Intervention

Andrew Kreps Gallery
525 West 22nd Street, 212-741-8849
November 17, 2006 - January 6, 2007
Reception: Friday, November 17, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

As a rejoinder to his previous exhibition (which took place at Daniel Buchholz Gallery in Vienna in the summer of 2006) Thompson presents Certain Aspects of Bourgeois Art: Non-Intervention. For the exhibition entitled, The End of Rent Control and the Emergence of the Creative Class, the following press release was used:

Cheyney Thompson…presents two series of four portraits depicting his conjugal landlords. These portraits borrow from four-color (CMYK) printing techniques deploying layers of transparency for the production of color images. This technical function separates the subjects of his work into sets of numeric information. In these works, the uncanny effect of virtuosic painterly technique results from an otherwise systematically deskilled procedure of image production. The disinvested image of the landlord comes to constitute a figure of propriety for paintingës claim to bear the weight of its own traditions.

Thompson’s allegorical movement from forms of social propriety to figures of aesthetic obsolescence is inverted in his large format painting ëThe Production of an Unevenly Distributed Surplus Results from the Facticity of Format and Groundí. This painting is made-up of a large impasto grid that served as an imposing matrix. Thompson likens this image to contractual relations between landlords and lessees. One lessee observes:

The representation of contractual relations between things often produces the effect of an excess, a surplus in the margins of the contract’s legal conditions. Passed from generation to generation, if not property itself, then the potential for its management, if not that then the facilitation (reproduction) of a future for the ghostly material relation that is bound by the contract: “Here the deed is done, it was done a long time ago, (now give me the keys).” (Sam Lewitt)

Along with these paintings several other works will be exhibited including seventeen computer drawings that attempt to plot differences and common points between a series of Cezanne drawings executed after the central figure of Bellona in Rubens’ The Apotheosis of Henry IV and the Proclamation of the Regency of Marie de Medicis on May 14, 1610.

In the context of New York City and given the ongoing vicissitudes of the real estate market, the stable figure of the landlord seems quaint, if not wholly irrelevant. Nonetheless, it seems that a speculative image, lacking a coherent subject, could share attributes (materials, methodologies, and techniques) with a series of portraits of a landlord. However, with the absence of a central subject, it would seem inevitable that the disparate objects on display would be subsumed into their more efficient ordering through brute contemporaneity.

The organization of this heterogeneous set of objects, in order to lay claim to an order that was not simply waiting for it in the gallery, would have to anticipate that ordering and add or subtract something from it. Thus, in this exhibition, a group of prints share materials and formal properties with the French journal, Rhobo, which published the essay that the show is named after. These prints also partake in values and terms which could be said to belong to painting, i.e., composition and color. If the prints have internalized the problems of painting, then the paintings in this exhibition have absorbed printing protocols. Similarly, this technique of assigning numeric values to color values is repeated in a series of tables which link aspects of exhibition architecture (display forms) to aspects of the pictures on display, while architecturally joining the exhibition space of the gallery to the storage space.
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