This body of work, created during Kessler’s Lab Grant residency at Dieu Donné, represents a major shift towards two-dimensionality for an artist whose practice normally consists of kinetic sculptures that incorporate video elements.
Kessler’s new work on paper redefines the contemporary portrait by capturing, deconstructing and reconfiguring images and information. Through these works, Kessler continues his prevailing engagement and response to politics, war, advertising, reality television, celebrity culture and pornography by incorporating text, images and found objects.
Kessler used papermaking equipment at Dieu Donné as a destructive force to rip, tear, beat and mash images from magazines, newspapers and other printed materials into wet paper pulp, or what Kessler terms, “the image soup.” The addition of found objects such as thread, yarn, hair, shredded money, and fabric yields a tactile quality that provokes both fascination and a visceral response from the viewer; a performative quality that reveals the artist’s instinctual response to his subject matter. Replacing the video monitor with reflective materials, such as shattered mirrors, the artist further engages the viewer as a participant in an immersive gallery installation of floor-to-ceiling works of paper.