Opening Reception, Sunday, January 8, 7-9pm
From January 8 – February 12, PARTICIPANT INC is pleased to present Generation, a solo exhibition by Matt Keegan. Generation brings together new sculpture and video that further Keegan’s investigation of language and its role in culture. Building upon the artist’s inquiry into the personal manifestations of broader social phenomena, the featured works point to the construction of identity, participation, and citizenship. In Keegan’s formulation, language is central to consensus and collectivity, and, simultaneously, the performance of power through experiences of class difference.
The exhibition’s central work is the titular two-channel video installation in which the artist maps the ideological transmission of meanings among his family. Keegan interviews members of his immediate family, asking each to define a selection of nineteen words. Set within the homes of his subjects, these projections bear witness to education, experience and fantasy — all dynamically related through animation. Alongside this work, Staging features objects from the video, among other props, isolated via ink-jet printed panels on Sheetrock.
A call and response weaves through the exhibition, beginning upon entry to the gallery with a pair of Keegan’s Cutouts — large-scale laser cut steel sculptures based on simple folded paper cut outs. For Generation, Keegan collaborated with artist Sergei Tcherepnin to equip Cutouts (Echo) with a looped composition based on sounds derived from the sculptures themselves (the shapes’ sounds are not definitive or linguistic). Upon activation, their metallic surfaces conduct sound like speakers, with their resonance contingent on viewer’s physical proximity. In contrast to the presumably coherent processes of assigning meaning to select words and pictures depicted in Generation, these abstract sculptures engender an inconclusive space, in which the uncertainty of assigning value, meaning, or interpretation is left open.
Taken together, the works in Generation explore the inheritance of language and its migration through encounters with an often ill-defined world. An inquiry into learning rather than teaching, the exhibition by necessity points to the urgent possibilities of unlearning and dissensus.
Matt Keegan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work is currently featured in The Artist's Museum at The ICA Boston, The Sun Placed in the Abyss at the Columbus Museum of Art, and A Traveling Show (with Kay Rosen) at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, which initiated as Eine Wanderausstellung at Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria. Recent group exhibitions include We Are the Center for Curatorial Studies at CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from the Met Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim, The Guggenheim, New York. A monograph, OR, was co-published by Inventory Press in conjunction with Keegan's 2015 solo show, Portable Document Format, at Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway. Keegan is the co-founding editor and publisher of North Drive Press (2004-2010) and founding editor of == (2012 and 2014).
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