Jason Dodge

Ich wachte auf

Jason Dodge  Ich wachte auf

source: thisistomorrowinfo

The exhibition title already suggests the main features of Jason Dodge’s work: The rudimentary, seemingly unfinished objects, sculptures and installations consist of simple items removed from any and all functional context. Only their tell-tale titles, like the note in the pocket, reference in merely a few words the curious combinations of fairytale-like and fabulous materials, puzzling backgrounds and seemingly absurd actions.

Jason Dodge’s approach and stylistic vocabulary is based on the ideas of concept art and minimal art. However, unlike the proponents of minimal art, he does not attempt to structure what is complex, analyze it or make it comprehensible. On the contrary: The ostensible simplicity of Dodge’s works aims at being perceived as part of an endless network. The diverse meanings, stories, truths and facts that touch in his works do not lead to a sole correct solution, but, like the corridors in Borge’s famous Library of Babel, to a succession of ever new questions.

Jason Dodge is a troubadour of the everyday: A soft poetry can be felt in his works when, for example in ‘Darkness falls on Beroldingerstraße 7, 79224 Umkirch’, he removes everything from the house at the given address that can produce light, and gathers them on the floor of the exhibition space. In combination with the title, the light bulbs, neon tubes, candles and matches which at first seem like an arbitrary collection of illuminants, evoke the image of an abandoned house that viewers may perceive to be threatening as well as to be miserable. Like a poet, Dodge composes the non- experiencable from the concrete: A remote house at the edge of a forest, the darkness which consumes it, the atmosphere it exudes. The ‘once upon a time…’ from a fairy tale reverberates in the implied story of the familiar objects, lending them that which André Breton called the ‘poetics of the everyday.’

A whole range of narrations inherent in the almost fleetingly sketched scene ‘You always move in reverse’. A kilo of silver that has apparently been thrown through the broken window into the room now lies amidst glass splitters on the floor of the exhibition space. The individual elements of the piece already contain a metaphorical value. In their combination, however, the focus is placed on the scurrility of the motives that could have lead to such a curious situation. The mixture of admonition and admiration that reverberates in the title underscores the conglomeration of conventions which Dodge reverses with this throw into its opposite: The bar of silver appears absurdly wasteful as an instrument for vandalism. The symbol of waste, throwing one’s money out the window, likewise does not fit: The money was thrown from the outside through the window. The unknown protagonist addressed in the title was perhaps a grumpy philanthropist or a bank robber on the lam who had to quickly get rid of his haul – the complexity of the possible stories grows the deeper one penetrates into the work.

Similar effects occur when Dodge completely foregoes the narrative of an action and combines two fundamentally unrelated matters: A flute, like the ones we might remember from elementary school music lessons or the fairy tale about the Pied Piper of Hamelin, rests on a pedestal. It is unplayable: The finger holes and windway are sealed, and the title ‘Poison hemlock in a flute’ reveals that the place where airflow has enabled the production of tones and melodies since prehistoric times now contains the very plant whose poison in the legendary cup of hemlock caused Socrates to die of respiratory paralysis as punishment for his godlessness.

Despite its lightness and simplicity, the musical instrument filled with poison opens up a whole series of associative and connective levels that are continued by an endless network of personal memories, legends, fairy tales and human history. Jason Dodge invites the viewers to immerse themselves in the labyrinth of possible interpretations in pursuit of a common denominator and an answer to the question ‘what is hemlock doing in the flute’‘, eventually finding their own fantastic story. With gestures as quiet and simple as the turning of book’s pages, Jason Dodge weaves everyday items into webs of associations that are as scurrilous as they are poetic.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source: artspace

About The Artist

Typically involving small, subtle alterations to existing objects, the work of Berlin-based artist Jason Dodge may appear to be materially minimalistic, but its simplicity often belies a complex artistic process. Imbuing everyday objects with a poetic element through his conceptually-driven gestures—dispatching homing pigeons to carry off sentence fragments, for instance, and then displaying the ones that successfully returned—Dodge creates works that function as indexical traces of a larger narrative.

The lengthy titles of Dodge’s works often attest to the significance of process in his art: for instance, a seemingly simple bolt of fabric bears the title In Lubeck, Germany, Mariele Scholtz Wove a Piece of Cloth. She Was Asked to Choose Yarn the Color of Night and Equalling the Distance (12km) From the Earth to Above the Weather (2008)—describing the instructions that the artist gave the fabricator. Others are more elusive, their import revealed only after the viewer has explored the work more closely, as in Your Death, Submarine, Copper Pipes Connected to Water (2009), for which Dodge installed a copper pipe throughout the length of the gallery connected to the building’s water system, giving visitors the ability to flood the space by turning a valve.

Dodge’s work has been exhibited extensively, including in solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Dusseldorf, CAC Vilnius in Lithuania, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His work has also been included in numerous group shows, including the 2012 Paris Triennale (curated by Okwui Enwezor), the 30th São Paulo Biennial (2012), The Workers at MASS MoCA (2011), Language of Less (Then & Now) at the MCA Chicago (2011), and The Quick and the Dead (curated by Peter Eleey) at the Walker Art Center (2009).
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source: paris-art

La proximité des œuvres de Shinique Smith, leur débauche de coloris et de textures, la tendance invasive de ses sculptures textiles, renforcent encore le dépouillement caractéristique du travail de Jason Dodge, exposé dans la pièce voisine. Après l’exubérance visuelle de l’artiste américaine, l’espace frappe par son dénuement, résonne d’une absence contenue dans les objets mêmes − traces, signes et indices d’une réalité passée ou future mais toujours insaisissable dans le moment présent.

Ainsi les oreillers de The Doctors are Sleeping, disposés au sol, ne gardent que l’empreinte — donc le souvenir — du visage des dormeurs, suivant une attitude poétique qui consiste à évoquer plus qu’à montrer. Les noms des médecins ainsi portraiturés en creux, Axel et Annette Jung, font songer aux outils et aux théories psychiatriques, cures de sommeil et divans d’analyse?
Cynique?
L’œuvre est surtout un horizon de sens, fluctuant au gré du regardeur et du contexte de présentation, un horizon illimité de possibles. Et peut tout aussi bien prendre une couleur fantastique et/ou théorique.

Souvent les objets de Jason Dodge, puisés dans le registre de l’ordinaire, restent des énigmes. Note épinglée au mur, duo de corbeilles inachevées, chauffe-eau isolé de son réseau de distribution tout comme les deux aquariums qui en supportent le poids, ils masquent dans leur genèse une histoire, un affect, une présence difficile à déterminer.
Le processus, seul, nous permet de saisir au vol la singularité de l’objet, comme pour ces paniers tressés… par un aveugle (!), Ernst Hopf, à la force et à l’appréciation du toucher… Économe, épris de métaphore, Jason Dodge semble préférer l’expérience au voir.

S’il interroge le statut de l’objet contemporain et sa relation à l’homme, le substrat philosophique et émotionnel inscrit dans toute matérialité, Jason Dodge crée également des fictions formelles, aussi absurdes et inutiles que poétiques.
Dans un coin de la salle, discrète, une lampe en éclaire une autre, tandis que deux câbles électriques courent sur les murs en encerclant l’exposition d’une charge invisible mais légèrement bourdonnante. Il va même jusqu’à imposer le silence à des flûtes à bec, bouchées par du poison, non seulement muettes mais périlleuses car pouvant ôter la vie de celui qui se risque à y souffler… Ce qui confère une étrange morbidité à la musique (et à l’art).

Cet intérêt pour le sens caché des choses, cette sensibilité formelle travaillée par l’absence, rejoignent le travail de Félix Gonzales Torres. Comme chez lui, la nature minimale et conceptuelle de l’œuvre n’exclue pas l’émotion ressentie à sa rencontre.
Jason Dodge propose un territoire en apparence aride, mais qui contient en germe une fécondité sémantique et affective qui ne saurait être négligée par un passage trop rapide dans l’espace d’exposition. Restez, écoutez le silence, vous finirez par entendre le bruit de la mer.