The current show at Sutton Lane Gallery, curated by art historian David Lewis, is a sampling of works by seven artists along the theme of an intellectual puzzle. Each work was chosen to be part of a search for truth, in the sophisticated language that is art. The installation at Sutton Lane Gallery is informed by a specific knowledge of the book La Vie mode d’emploi, by Perec, and therefore the show verges on being intellectually exclusive.
However, prompted by the press release, the viewer is informed of The Chiasmus, or the binary opposition set up between the viewer (who through the process of piecing out the puzzle, is becoming more human) and the art, or a program mechanized by a strict theme. Lewis intentionally chose more cold and constrained works in an effort to spell out this paradoxical reversal. For example, the strict paradigms inherent in each piece start to create a dialogue relative to the nature of restriction: Sherrie Levine’s photography is to copy other people’s work, where as next to her prints After Cézanne, the untitled striped canvas typical of Daniel Buren exemplifies just two kinds of constrictions within which artists work.
Armed with the knowledge that there is a dialogue between the works of art and the kinds of commentaries they make about systems of constraint, an increased awareness of the viewer’s own humanity. As a result, the viewer has been acted upon or regulated by Lewis’s own program, one inspired by Perec’s novel.
--Kate C. Lemay
(*Images, from top to bottom: Daniel Buren, Untitled, Décembre 1970, striped canvas with orange and white lines and white paint, 152 x 130 cm / 56 x 51 inches. Sherrie Levine, After Cezanne: 1-18, 2007, 18 Laser color prints on paper, Each: 33.02 x 48.26 cm / 13 x 19 inches (unframed), Edition of 12. La Vie mode d'emploi, Installation view, 21 March - 2 May 2009, Sutton Lane, Paris.)