Apr 04 — May 09
Marlborough Chelsea is pleased to present an exhibition of new photographs and video by New York artist Ari Marcopoulos. Entitled L1032015 (after the number and date assigned to a photograph within the artist’s archive) the show addresses interconnected ideas regarding the dynamic density of the city, the uncontrollable power of nature, and the resilience and frailty of the body. In particular, Marcopoulos is interested in how these ideas intersect with art history (both recent and distant) and the ways in which contemporary photographic depictions of these conventions (i.e. portraiture, landscape, gestural and
monochromatic abstraction) become a form of elegiac appropriation, or emotionally-charged readymades.
Primarily carbon pigment prints made on conventional and rice papers, the process produces an incredibly lush, painterly effect while maintaining the street-level grit of a Xerox that has been a recurring aesthetic in the artist’s work. Utilizing heavy, utterly opaque black pigments in multiple passes, the landscape photographs, which occupy the largest gallery of the exhibition, range from hazy and indistinct to outright obliterated in layers of ink. There is a funereal stillness to the surfaces that plays against the gale- force winds, crashing waves and alien vistas of the coastal settings depicted there.
In the relative order of New York City, symbols of control and rebellion are always held in delicate balance. Images of undercover police-issued Chevy Impalas hang beside twisted metal abstractions of crashed civilian vehicles. However, as always, there are more hopeful images of personal resistance to metropolitan strictures and institutional power that are Marcopoulos’s thematic mainstays: family members, books, counterculture ‘zines and scrawled graffiti.