CRG presents the first solo exhibition of Robert Buck, titled 第二自然. Having shown previously under the name Robert Beck, the current exhibition is a self-nominated departure, a development evident in a representative body of work consisting of sculptural and print-based works. Founding concerns include language, psychoanalysis, sexuation, filmmaking, and the American West.
How Am I to Sign Myself is an emblematic work. Combining lithography, digital and stamp printing on CRG gallery letterhead, the edition of 24 prints replicates pages from the guest book for an exhibition of drawings by Robert Beck last year. The assorted signatures, simulated, defy pat notions of agency, community, audience and authorship.
The show features several modular-based works, including Cell (Winter Mimicry 1.0). The relief-like clusters of interlocking hexagons are interposed throughout the gallery. Each “cell” is printed hydrographically with a trompe-l’oiel pattern of tree bark and twigs, moths and pupa. The conglomerations suggest honeycomb, decor, or paving stones.
Vane of Association (Istock) is a series of UV-printed rhombus-shaped DiBond panels that, adjoined, traverse the walls. Scanned chain-links, in tangled and knotted layouts, are superimposed over non-descript images taken from a commercial photography internet site. Associations insinuate from the randomly linked sequences of “iconographic” images.
Sprawling across the floor and back wall of the gallery, Constellation (”To find the Western Path, Right thro the Gates of Wrath) is a central work. A vine-like apparatus of polished aluminum rails, the sculpture plots a disparate array of commodities as rebus or schema, a 3D “Magic Eye” print its focal point. Areas of the gallery are enveloped within the interstices of the sculpture and so become part of its network.
The many commercial printing and fabrication techniques exploited by the work jibes with both the appropriation of mass-produced/disseminated objects/images and the derivation/deviation of our global economy vernacular. With these initiatives, Buck signals socially accessible points of common reference within an increasingly imaginary public sphere. Notions of non-localized identity, precipitated by a cultural web/hive of mass-produced, techno-logically distributed identities (surrogates for social/physical structures) are materialized as changeling subjectivities. According to Buck, traversing the fantasy may be our best chance.