Friday, June 16, 2006

May all my rejected essay proposals become blogposts....

Lisa Lapinski, a Los Angeles-based artist, exhibits a marked fascination with esoteric systems of thought and the limits of language in her installation and sculptural work. For her Art Center graduate exhibition “Armstrong Visions Solarian: Regina and Opium Have Dormitive Virtue” (2000) Lapinski investigated the artistic practices of philosophers who also happened to make diagrammatic drawings, such as Charles Sanders Pierce and Jacques Lacan. Lapinski’s monumental new sculpture Night Stand, which was exhibited in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, continues this investigation by limning the boundaries of religious systems of knowledge and the “ecstatic states” of the United Society of Believers, otherwise known as the Shakers. The Shakers’ rational systems of religious knowledge and irrational ecstatic states found their material corollaries in the sober earthiness of their furniture and the wild otherworldliness of their drawings. But what would happen, Lapinski wondered, if Shaker furniture were subject to the same ecstatic production techniques as the Shaker drawings? Night Stand is a testament to this idea, incorporating motifs from various disciplines (architecture, woodwork, painting) and religions (Christianity, Judaism, paganism) to create a critical work of art that masquerades as a devotional object. Night Stand incorporates Art-Deco sculpture, Jewish Stars of David, and impressionistic painting; it takes the form of a large piece of furniture, yet sections of the woodwork remain unfinished and none of the drawers function; if viewed from above, the sculpture’s shape resembles a swastika; if viewed from the side, its skeletal construction is revealed. How do such artifacts and symbols frustrate communication and rational systems of material production?

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