Casey Kaplan presents “hand in hand with the handless,” new works by Jason Dodge.
Dodge’s first exhibition with the gallery was in 1998. Over the past two decades, Dodge has engaged in a sculptural practice that offers space for presence and reflection. His works exist as primary materials through which to consider the mechanics of perception and aesthetics of everyday substance. Working with a wide-range of existing objects, his sculptures speak to the subjective auras of the items that circulate through our lives.
The works in the show consist of elemental components: plastic, paper, copper, aluminum, glass, cotton, crystal, and wood. Obsolete electronics consider a fluctuation of emotions, spanning excitement, frustration, indifference, and nostalgia. In these new works, intimate objects from domestic life appear haphazardly placed. Blankets, coins, bundles of tangled wires, metal tubing and garbage bags are scattered on the floor. A kaleidoscopic rectangle of insulation foam blooms with the artificial hues of cotton candy. A turquoise scale carries the stories of numerous bodies. The digested meal of a paper shredder. A birdcage without a bird.
These objects are simultaneously ubiquitous and precious, beautiful and banal. Dodge does not use titles or dates to give clarity to a gallery checklist and there are no contextual clues to tell a story of production, distribution or utility. The work functions as a nearly undecipherable palimpsest of meaning and value – layered with the faintest traces of lived history. The sculptures and the viewer exist symbiotically, each element a potential catalyst for recognition. Changing perceptions mirror the evolving stories of the materials and the questions we are left with become part of the answer: How do the objects around us participate in systems of meaning and value? How many hundreds of thousands of computer cables exist at any moment in the sky, tucked away in the overhead bin compartments of commercial airplanes? What would you uncover from the ashes of history following the lifespan of a single coin?
With sculptural alchemy, Dodge explores the transmutations that occur among the things we move through life with. The works draw a correlation between the artist’s decisions, the elemental meaning inherent to the materials, the world they come from, and the selective and emotive perceptions of the viewer. Through this practice, Dodge speaks to the aural mysticism woven within our material reality and explores hidden moments of harmony within day-to-day experience.
Jason Dodge (b.1969, Newtown, PA) lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: Jason Dodge/Paul Thek, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2017); Behind this machine anyone with a mind who cares can enter, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne (2016); Jason Dodge with CAConrad: Width of a Witch, Mercer Union and Kunstverein Toronto, Ontario (2016); Centre d’édition contemporaine, Genève (2015); American Academy in Rome (with Martino Gamper), Italy (2013) and What we have done., Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2013). Dodge has participated in the 12th Biennale de Lyon, the 9th Bienal do Mercosul, and oO, the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. He co-curated Enemy of the Stars with Krist Grijhaisen at Kunst-Were Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin in 2017 and has recently participated in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); MIT List Centre, Cambridge (2017) and the Eli and Edyth Broad Museum, East Lansing (2017). He will have an exhibition in September of this year at the Neubauer Collegium in Chicago with Dieter Roelstraete. Besides his artistic practice, Dodge is the founder of the poetry imprint five hundred places which has published 25 monographic books of poems by contemporary poets including Ishion Hutchinson, Eileen Myles, CAConrad, Dorothea Lasky and Matthew Dickman.
The title “hand in hand with the handless” is from Franz Wright’s 2011 poem Recurring Awakening.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)