Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adrian Meraz Studio

Hein and I visited Adrian's Greenpoint studio. It was a welcome change to visit a studio in my own neighborhood!

One of the most exciting aspects of visiting artists' studios is having a glimpse into the workings of another mind.

Adrian has an exceptionally methodical approach to art making. He agreed with me when I observed that his work is comprised of a series of highly differentiated moves, and also elaborated on my observation by saying that to him each move is like a move in a game of chess. Hein and I both thought that that was a fresh and intriguing way to think about art.

Each move is considered with great care and deliberation, from the meticulously sanded plexiglass to the hot pink strips of fabric that enliven and add vivacity to the sculpture.

The limitations of communication, and more specifically the limits of music and language are ongoing themes in Adrian's work. This acknowledgement  of the limitations of how we communicate and the barrier between ourselves and others in terms of understanding, is a theme that has preoccupied so much of Contemporary thought and art. I picked up the new Kippenberger biography and I was just reading about how the misunderstandings found in language were an obsession for Kippenberger, who was dyslexic. Kippenberger not only invented words and a language that no one aside from a select few could decode or understand, but he would also intentionally title paintings with completely unrelated titles pertaining to the subjects.
Each piece is completely different from the next. Adrian has a fixed set of parameters he works within, but within this  framework an infinite amount of possibilities emerges. Just as each move he  makes in creating the pieces is specific and entirely different from the next, the sculptures are also distinct and individualized. 
I was reminded of a quote by another one of my favorite Germans, Dieter Roth,"hate it if I notice that I like somethingif I am able to do somethingso that I just have to repeat it, that it could become a habit. Then I stop immediately. Also if it threatens to become beautiful."

Habits are complacent and safe. They challenge no one, neither the artist making the work nor the audience viewing it. Art should be a form of rebellion and that goes without question. Anything that aligns itself with the status quo is commercial drivel. I equate certainty and predictability with death. Taking chances breathes life into both life and art. Although thinking outside the box is no longer an option, since the proverbial box no longer exists after having endured much vandalism, mutilation, abuse, and final execution, we as artists are still responsible for taking chances and risks within our own practices and never becoming comfortable or docile.  

 Adrian's thoughts on the moves in a game of chess being analogous the moves in making art was one of the most thought provoking ideas I've encountered. The idea of taking deconstruction to such a reductive yet essential point and applying an isolated strategy to each move or even considering the "move" itself, created a mental storm and actually changed the way I think about art, which was unexpected and refreshing. 

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