Room Temperature

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts & Tilton
Room Temperature

5801 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
November 3rd, 2012 - December 15th, 2012
Opening: November 3rd, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

culver city/west la
Tue-Sat 11-6 or by appointment
installation, sculpture


To start I would like to discuss the notion of phonology and the mouth, opening, face, and entrance in these works by Egan Frantz; I think it is appropriate to enter here because if you have entered the gallery you will have found yourself amidst a lot of bubbling, that thing which produces a sound by its own name and Only produces a sound through the rupture of its own name (a skin with no opening concealing nothing - void/air/aer/O). Dispersed across the floor a network of buckets are bubbling indifferently like a thicket of mudpots. The buckets stand day and just as night harbors a constellation; the apparatus in seven parts: ...K electric air pump --> hose --> conduit--> bucket --> water -->sparkling wine bottle -->bubbles --> a kind of screen that keeps said bubbles down¡K What is certain is for the senses, an effusion like music (not to be mistaken with Georges Bizet's Carmen suite #1) emanates from the buckets, forever sustained. We can satirize our longing for a commemorative registration of the un-witnessed event. O.K. We might better focus on how the glass mouths of the bottles and the mouths of the buckets have been tempered. With a network of oratory, even onomatopoetic fountains communicating in an absurd irregular meter where bubbles announce, "bubbles" in-a-seemingly-infinite-scale-of-tones. With these talking drums (not to be confused with the hourglass-shaped talking drum from West Africa, whose pitch can mimic the tone and prosody of human speech), each bubble acts as a basic phoneme. It could be said the affections of each bubble, nothing if not skin, just so slip through the various lips or mouths of the various bubbly bottles in buckets, only to pop and return. If you say it, or in this case write it, bubbly bottles in buckets bubbling can be a pleasing alliteration.

Room Temperature could refer to the blase constancy of the weather in Los Angeles, indoors and out¡K but more likely to any room anywhere. If we think about how the air in here is flowing through the artworks in an unaltered state we move from architecture to a more primordial form of enclosure, the bubble, a would-be image of creation ex-nihilo. Up to this point all of this is true and now very erotic.

We also have bread, the most sacred food. On the table it is the most basic phoneme. Here it holds authority as sculpture or ¡§on the table.¡¨ Bread is slang, ¡§makin¡¦ bread,¡¨ and a metaphor for basic necessities and living conditions in general. The "bread-winner" who "puts bread on the table" is the main economic contributor in the household. A bread-baker can buy bread just as bread can be made out of bread. A Baguette made out of a baguette on the table could also point to the host¡¦s social and economic origin. For the lower classes bread is nearly sacred and is never to be tossed. Even stale bread is to be used for soups or as crumbs -- to throw it away is to forget impoverishment. But, a baguette made out of a baguette is completely absurd, so anything is possible. We will consider the stale baguette the threshold between bread and the unbread, as a place in time. We don¡¦t care about origin and it is not yet a host for new life, molding. We might here be tempted to call bread that molds "low culture" and the baguette sculpture that does not mold, ¡§high culture,¡¨ although that would be a better name for a yoghurt company. There are visible traces of the pink, silicone mold used in making the baguette sculptures out of stale baguettes. But, we are past this - - aware of something of a spectrum art. If one inspects a baguette it is the bubbles or holes inside that constitute both the baguette¡¦s structure and flavor. Here there is no gap between the thing and itself, its consistency is consistent. We lose the air bubbles (Aero?), as we might lose the invisible code that constitutes our digital images. The synthetic supplement in these loaves points to the number ...011010111... between bread and the unbread. For what has been lost (just air), glue has replaced. Is glue regarded as an additional element in the fine arts or a mere means? We know Schwitters loved glue. I think these days the stale baguette indicates a more fundamental indistinction between the thing and the unthing, where it becomes impossible to distinguish them from each other. This immortal baguette sculpture, a baguette made out of a stale baguette, is an indefinite thing in which the distinction between bread and unbread or a thing and the unthing is brought to crisis, and as such, brings to our attention a possible ethics attending to the distinction.

In so few words we have come to perceive both an erotics and an ethics as demonstrated by the work and for that it will be harder to dissociate the two. It makes me think how a lot of this stuff is already associated with France, just as Egan Frantz, which is as curious as it is irreconcilable. We’re in it with him -- we're all trying to swim in it, like a fish, and none of us know how to do that. We really don't.

Ben Schumacher
New York, October 2012

Egan Frantz lives and works in New York, NY. He received his BA from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.