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Artist Statement

 

I envision art as a realm for playing with the contingent practice of meaning-production.  I contrast logic with free-association in an attempt to make the structure of significance apparent.  Many of my projects derive their logic from aesthetically driven assemblages of juxtaposed objects.  I am exploring the realization that meaning is merely a restricted set of possible games.

I am driven by Schwitters’ understanding that what we call reality is a universe of manipulable signs.  Schwitters was interested in materials not for their inherent expressive qualities, but rather for their ability to enter into relationships with each other.  The material’s intrinsic qualities were of secondary value to him, what was important was the connections that had been established.

 

The juxtaposition of objects, into larger assemblages, generates new contexts in which the constituent materials can exist.  It is important to point out that this ability for assemblage to allow its fragments to point back to the contexts from which they were extracted allows the viewer to actively participate in these semantic collisions.  The unresolved nature of these relationships within the assemblage grounds the potential for a critical expansion of perception.

Meaning is based on patterns, but does not automatically flow from them.  Similarly, art’s formal relations do not produce meaning in any ordinary sense of the word.  These relationships unfold contiguously with ordinary forms of meaning-production in a way that questions these quotidian relationships, and thus makes them conspicuous.

The use of advanced mold making materials has allowed me to capture the likeness of almost anything I choose.  Like a hunter, I search for objects that carry cultural significance.  There is a thin margin where some objects exist, floating between specificity and generality. These are the vessels that hold the complex semantic relationships in which I am interested.  They are objects with which my audience will be familiar, yet may not remember why they have become culturally iconographic.  Our environment is awash with objects that are semantically connected to a large host of other objects.  The connections are invisible, plastic, and ethereal.  Yet, we make them concrete through repeated use and constant manipulation.  

In 1974, Jasper Johns was asked about the elements he chose to use as starting points for his work.  His response was: 

“I am interested in things which suggest the world rather than the personality.  I am interested in things which suggest things which are, rather than in judgments.  The most conventional thing, the most ordinary thing – it seems to me that those things can be dealt with without having to judge them; they seem to me to exist as clear facts, not involving aesthetic hierarchy.”

However, he went on to admit that,

“I looked for a week for what I thought looked like an ordinary flashlight, and I found all kinds of flashlights […] and I finally found one that I wanted.  And it made me very suspect of my idea, because it was so difficult to find this thing I had thought was so common. […]  It turns out that the choice is quite personal and is not really based on one’s observations at all […]”

I reproduce objects that have already been fetishized to the point where they have become part of our iconographic vocabulary.  Combined with these, I include overlooked everyday objects whose ubiquitous inclusion in our society makes them virtually invisible to our conscious recognition.  Linking these objects through proximity in unexpected and novel ways can open the doors for a new understanding of how we see the objects and works to reveal how our minds store and recall information.

 

-Uri Davillier