“For Another” presents works by four artists, all exploring notions of the “surrogate”.
Allen Ruppersberg’s “Siste Viator” was conceived for the Sonsbeek International Sculpture Exhibition, held in Arnhem, The Netherlands (the site of one of World War II’s most important battles). Intended as a “literary memorial” to British, Dutch, Polish, and German war casualties, Siste Viator features reprints of books and book covers that could have been read by those killed in battle. For each language, one book was reproduced entirely, while the other copies contain blank pages only. The artist inserted ex libris bookplates naming individual casualties.
Allan McCollum’s “Collection of Five Plaster Surrogates” is a quintessential example of the work for which McCollum gained widespread recognition. The five elements were each made from a mold and hand painted, yet created, at the time, as part of an ongoing project of semi-mass production. Part of McCollum’s interest is in the context in which paintings are shown and the idea of a painting being part of a diverse group of objects considered collectibles. Applying strategies of mass production to handmade objects, he has spent nearly 50 years exploring how works of art achieve personal and public meaning in a world largely constituted within the manners of industrial production.
Liliana Porter’s “Forced Labor (To Go Back / Black)” uses found objects – a commercially available shelf, a creamer with a picturesque scene of a quaint house surrounded by flora, and a small figurine. The artist’s actions consisted of combining the elements and drawing the lines of the “path” on which the figurine “walks” back to the “house”. Utilizing creative license, a hefty dose of imagination and humor, and a good understanding of perspective, Porter creates a scene that is fully legible. What is most powerful is that these simple means imbue the scenario with an immense amount of emotion – sympathy, empathy, pathos, relief and more.
Claes Oldenburg’s “Wedding Souvenir” was commissioned for the wedding of Jim and Judith Elliot, on April 23, 1966, in Topanga Canyon, California, in an unnumbered edition of approximately 8 cakes, each cake composed of 18 slices. Each place setting had a slice and the head tables had full cakes. Forever celebrating a celebration, the plaster cake slice is instantly recognizable and elegant, yet forever frozen – a symbol (a plaster cast) of a symbol (wedding cake as celebratory object).