Monday, March 2, 2009

My Arms Are Tied Behind My Other Arms

On Sunday, I finally had the opportunity to view the Gedi Sibony exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. I am glad that I was able to witness these pieces at a time when the museum was not teeming with people because there is a beautiful intimacy to these works that I feel would be lost in a crowd, for all that I am certain the other experience has its merits as well.

The Contemporary describes the work thusly:
More than an inventor of new worlds, Sibony is a witness to what already exists, and he chooses materials that have also witnessed the world... he weaves together stories about the nature of art, space, magic, and experience, but also metaphysical and political stories about efficiency, transparency, re-use, and the power and beauty of bare essentials.

One of the strongest aspects of Sibony's work is how he responds to the existing space. His artworks draw even more attention to what is and isn't there. For example, the placement of XXXX, a floor piece involving two carpets touching, draws attention to a structural crack that is part of the museum architecture and has likely been there for awhile for all that many people (myself included) probably never really saw it before this show.

I am especially drawn to the institutional critique aspect of Sibony's work. He has a wonderful ability to draw attention to the spaces in which art is shown and to the artworks themselves. Everything is strategically placed so to encourage the viewer to truly experience the space and the objects within it. In this manner, I was reminded of the Dan Flavin exhibition at the Pulitzer, but the method and means are different and there is an inherent playfulness in Sibony's work that relates well to Bruce Nauman's Dead Shot Dan exhibition in the other main gallery space.

So if you haven't yet made it out to the Contemporary to see My Arms Are Tied Behind My Other Arms, please try to do so. Make sure that you take the opportunity to view Duck Dive from both within and outside of the museum. While you're there, check out Sean Snyder's Exhibition video as part of the Front Room gallery; the re-edited 1965 film is also an interesting institutional critique piece that examines different aspects of the art world and art institutions.

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