LondonPage Not Found
Douglas Boatwright & Marike Schuurman
curated by Isabel Parkes
The message ‘Page Not Found’ means you are trying to access a webpage that doesn’t exist, often because the site has gone dead or the address was mistyped. The exhibition ‘Page Not Found’ takes this access error and two large-format abstractions from Marike Schuurman’s 2012 Expired series as a starting point. Shot with an SX-70 Polaroid camera to record São Paulo’s citywide ban on public advertising, the works’ chemical oversaturation on old film gives these images of absence new life. While the works physically pose the question of how one confronts an image that’s no longer there, Schuurman also achieves what she first sought to capture: the removal of content from daily life and the ceaseless creation of visual cultures.
Once again exploring the potential of different photo- graphic techniques, Schuurman inserts a requisite 2€ into one of Berlin’s analogue photo booths, then lets the machine work in order to ultimately produce the images that comprise Self Portrait of a Photo Booth (2015– 2018). Each of the series’ inkjet prints contradicts and expands the idea of portraiture, paradoxically by portraying nothing. Scrolling over a screen, one might recognize this feeling of differentiation becoming similitude or content becoming white noise. Schuurman’s interest in these images rests in the tension between simple dichotomies. Untitled (2015) – inkjet prints of reclaimed negatives depicting the photo booths’ starched cloth curtains – forms a dynamic pair with the Self Portraits, a mundane outside now looking in.
Schuurman’s associations between seeing and not seeing pair fluidly with Douglas Boatwright’s ongoing series Autophag, Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Cannibal (2011–). Produced continually as a printer’s ink cartridge runs out, Boatwright maneuvers his rich photoconceptual archive to link found images from a point of scarcity. He employs a mechanical apparatus – here a printer – in a process of re-imaging that relegates certain aesthetic decisions to the errors of a machine. The resulting, almost painterly prints invite interpretations that are at once entirely specific and generalizable. Seen in groups or phrases, his images approach notions of visibility, duration and distribution from a variety of angles: a security guard’s hand breaking the perceived void of an Ad Reinhardt black painting, a screen grab detail of a slain Trayvon Martin’s body accidentally flashed on a network news program, monuments in the American Confederate South being concealed (or revealed), eclipses.
Seen as a site-specific constellation, Boatwright’s work renews the sensory impact of markings of difference and blurs easy distinctions between disparate types of images mediated via the internet. He creates a series of stoppages that paradoxically offer links, and like Schuurman, stresses the way images can be both constantly seen and remain unnoticed. In this, Page Not Found makes examples of errors and presents images as (and without) information as both a choice and condition in 2019.
Douglas Boatwright (b. 1977, USA) holds degrees from the New School, the Cooper Union, and Columbia University. His work has been exhibited a.o. at Sculpture Center, Artists Space, Art in General, Harris Lieberman Gallery (New York) and Silberkuppe (Berlin). He currently teaches at Universität der Kunste, Berlin.
Marike Schuurman (b. 1964, The Netherlands) holds degrees in fine arts from The Gerrit Rietveld Academie and The Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Her work has been exhibited a.o. in Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Helmhaus Zürich and KINDL, Centre for Contemporary Art (Berlin). Schuurman’s photographs and videos are part of collections such as Sammlung Hoffmann in Berlin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and KPN, The Hague, The Netherlands. She lives and works between Berlin and Amsterdam.Douglas Boatwright & Marike Schuurman: Page Not Found, 2019. Installation views Nicoletti Contemporary, London. Photographs by Theo Christelis