"I seek intimate relationships with impersonal structures. The systems I choose to work with, such as police, secret services, CCTV and forensic identification, function at a distance, with a wide-angle perspective, equalizing everyone and erasing the individual. I seek the potential softness and intimacy of their technologies, the fallacy of their omniscient point of view, the ways in which they hold memory (yet often cease to remember), their engrained position in society (the cause of their invisibility), their authority, their apparent intangibility and, with all of this, their potential reversibility."
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce With Full Consent, Jill Magid's first solo exhibition in New York, on display at the fifth floor space at 980 Madison Avenue. The show features an array of works linked by the investigation of the emotional and philosophical relationship between "protective" institutions and conventions, and individual identity. A prime example is Lincoln Ocean Victor Eddy, a large-scale multimedia project initiated upon the artist's return home after living abroad for five years. When an announcement over the subway PA informed everyone that any passenger may be subject to a search "for security reasons" Magid responded by approaching a police officer and asking him to search her. He refused, but she persisted. Ultimately she infiltrated his world – to a degree – Lincoln Ocean Victor Eddy: police code for "love."
In Evidence Locker Magid develops a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is a citywide video surveillance. The videos in this project were staged and edited by the artist but filmed by the police using the public CCTV cameras. Wearing a bright red trench coat, Magid called the police on duty and asked them to film her, or even guide her through the city with her eyes closed, as seen in the video Trust. Footage obtained from the system is stored for 31 days before being erased. For access, Magid submitted the necessary legal documents completed as letters to a lover. They are collected as One Cycle of Memory in the City of L.
Auto Portrait Pending locates the artist's fascination with permission in a radically personal manner; structured as a love letter accompanied by an object in a vitrine, it is in fact a contract stipulating that the artist's remains are to be turned in to a diamond when she dies. The display cabinet holds the ring without the stone – the diamond is required to complete this unfinished portrait.
The exhibition opens with quotes from a novel by Polish born writer Jerzy Kosinski in which the protagonist is a former operative of a mysterious government agency living a life free of identity - in a way, describing Magid's personal methodology. The show ends with The Salem Diamonds, a memorial proposal for 3,489 abandoned mental patients in Salem, OR, who were – and remain – wards of the state.
Jill Magid was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1973. She received her Master of Science in Visual Studies at the Massachusets Institute of Technology, Cambridge and was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Magid has had solo shows in various institutions around the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art Teipei (2003), Tate Liverpool (2004), the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2005), Sparwasser, Berlin (2007) and the Centre D'Arte Santa Monica, Barcelona (2007). Jill Magid lives and works in New York and Amsterdam.