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THE D R AWI N G CENTER

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Alexandre Singh The Pledge


The Drawing Center January 17 – March 13, 2013 Main Gallery


Alexandre Singh The Pledge

Curated by Claire Gilman


D R AW I N G PA P E R S 10 2

Essays by Claire Gilman, AndrĂŠ Lepecki, Vincenzo Latronico, and Jill Magid


Editor’s Note

The contributors to this catalogue were each asked to pen an essay that would “extend” the “eccentric interpretations” embodied by the Assembly Instructions that constitute Alexandre Singh’s The Pledge. But each contributor was only given three Assembly Instructions to work with. Three contributors times three works equals nine “interpretations.” With only seven works in the exhibition, this meant overlap, which we intended. What we couldn’t imagine, nor intend, was the rich and brilliant eccentricity of the contributions themselves, which wonderfully outflank our strategy of overlap by generating interpretive potentials all their own. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor

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Alexandre Singh: The Pledge Claire Gilman

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An old book, its corners frayed, lies open-faced. Snaking across its otherwise blank surface is a thin, hand-drawn pencil line. Bits of type-written text that have been cut out and affixed to the empty double-page spread punctuate its passage. “Le Debut” indicates the line’s origin; “La Fin,” its end. And in the middle we read: “something odd happens here.” This is one of over two hundred and fifty collages that comprise New York-based artist Alexandre Singh’s 2012 installation The Pledge, and it provides a point of entry into this ambitious, multipart work. As is typical for Singh, the image has been scanned from a photograph. And yet, if we take the typed words literally, the “odd” thing that “happens” here is drawing. Not a drawing of anything in particular, but simply the drawn gesture itself [PL. 1]. Reinforcing the centrality of drawing is a second image from the same series in which a reproduction of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam is overlaid with a line of correction fluid that runs through Adam’s outstretched arm and hand to God the Father’s [PL. 2]. The line is here bookended by the typewritten words “listener” (Adam) and “storyteller” (God). In the center, where a billowy cloud obscures the protagonists’ hands, appears the familiar typewritten phrase: “something odd happens here.” In the beginning there were stories. And stories, Singh suggests, are a kind of drawing. From this union, it would seem, comes creation.

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PL . 1

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 2

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


The Pledge belongs to a body of work which Singh has been developing since 2008. Each of the Assembly Instructions tackles a different subject, ranging from the history of modern art, through the layout of the IKEA megastore, to the etymology of the word “orange.” For this series, Singh photocopies material from books and magazines, prints images from the Internet, and cuts and assembles the fragments into large diagrammatic arrangements. He then scans the compositions and prints them on a black-and-white inkjet printer. The resultant sheets are framed in variously-sized IKEA frames and connected on the wall via hand-drawn pencil dots. Organized in loose groupings, the images create what Singh refers to as a “network” of associations reminiscent of flowcharts, but ones that refuse fixed hierarchies or connections. It is important to note that Singh treats only these scanned reproductions, not the original collages, as works of art. He explains that this distinction is largely logistical, given the length of time it takes to make the collages, the fragility of the materials (photocopy paper and correction fluid are unlikely to withstand the test of time), and the difficulty that would result from having to borrow individual collages from their respective owners and to ship them around the world. But Singh also values the leveling process that takes place, for instance, when both a page from an old library volume and a glossy magazine are reproduced via a black-and-white photocopier. What commentators on Singh’s work tend to overlook, but what a trip to his studio reveals, is just how physical his process is. Pinned to wall-length corkboards, the soon-to-be-scanned bits of paper reveal their shape and weight, just as, up close, Singh’s pencil lines register their subtle grain. Replete with rulers, scalpels, pencils, and glue sticks, Singh’s workspace betrays the manual effort involved [FOLLOWING SPREAD]. Moreover, viewed closely, evidence of the Assembly Instructions’ material beginnings manifest themselves in both the scanned cutouts’ jagged edges and in the subtle differences in printer tone. What is paramount in Singh’s digital translation, in other words, is not the eradication of the original, but rather the insertion of a distance between original and copy, a distance that renders the space depicted neither here nor there, neither reality nor fiction, but somewhere in between.

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The interconnection between truth and fiction permeates all of the Assembly Instructions. Indeed, Singh chooses his topics for their imaginative potential and he makes no pretense about factual accuracy. But the narrativization of everyday life assumes central importance in The Pledge. Singh’s most ambitious wall installation to date, this newest series consists of seven interrelated Assembly Instructions that use as their starting point interviews conducted by the artist with seven noted intellects: Marc-Olivier Wahler (curator and director of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris); Leah Kelly (neurobiologist and researcher at The Rockefeller University, New York); Michel Gondry (filmmaker and director of music-videos and commercials); Danny Rubin (screenwriter and author of Groundhog Day); Donatien Grau (teacher at Paris-Sorbonne University and member of the “Proust” team at the Institute des textes & manuscrits moderne [ITEM]); Simon Fujiwara (artist and performer); and Alfredo Arias (theater director, playwright, and actor). The project is a departure for Singh not only in its scope, but also in its multi-dimensional format. In a reverse move, Singh began this series not with images but with text—the interviews—which he then fictionalized and published together with sample illustrations in a special 2011 issue of the Palais de Tokyo’s quarterly PALAIS/Magazine. There, the collages served as “proxyportraits” for the interviewees or, more precisely, for their scripted conversations since the collages do not so much render the interview subjects as the dialogues themselves. In other words, if the Assembly Instructions typically translate abstract concepts into visual terms, The Pledge adds an additional layer of mediation by pictorially recreating already fictionalized written texts. Part of the point is to show that the artist belongs to a vast cultural fabric that is always already in place. Whereas earlier Assembly Instructions charted a single mind’s attempt to make sense of the world from an array of fragments, The Pledge presents a network of interconnected minds and entangled associations. Beyond this, Singh shifts the focus from artistic verity to the constructed nature of thought generally, as The Pledge investigates the creative process across disciplines (i.e. not just literature and art, but also, via the interlocutors, theater, science, filmmaking, and acting) and lays bare these disciplines’ particular brands of fiction. Indeed, the interviews read less as information-based conversations than as theatrical

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The artist’s studio, 2012.


PL . 3

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


scenarios complete with dramatic monologues, stage directions, and strategically placed secondary characters, while the interviews themselves are infused with genre-specific discussions about the role of storytelling, how dreams affect reality, and the pervasiveness of magic and trickery (“the pledge” refers to the first stage of a magic trick1). Hence Marc-Olivier Wahler focuses on the materialist vs. idealist conception of the work of art; Leah Kelly considers the brain chemistry activated in mirror learning; and Donatien Grau explores the Proustian circularity of time. Throughout, the interviews and their accompanying collages are connected by shared motifs like clouds, birds, and maps that evoke movement or flights of the imagination. Above all, the portraits are connected by drawing. This is true both literally, in the form of the drawn pencil dots that bridge the framed images, and conceptually, with drawing emerging time and again as an analogy for the creative act. Consider the second image with which this essay began. There, drawing is likened to the life force itself. Consider too Singh’s own definition of drawing as “a tool for learning about the world, for making sense, for working things out,” a definition that he applies to the Assembly Instructions in general.2 Of the pencil line specifically, Singh notes: “for me [it] is that: movement, an arrow, pointing, imagining.”3 Throughout The Pledge, the graphite line is used in just this way, to indicate vectors and pathways, to mark transitions from one state of being to another. Hence the line that connects God and Adam’s outstretched hands, and the hand-drawn weather graph that marks the passage of time in Danny Rubin, and the arrows that indicate a tennis ball’s gravitational force in Leah Kelly [PL. 3]. In a whimsical three-part sequence from MarcOlivier Wahler, drawing accentuates each stage of a disappearing-bird trick [PLS. 4, 5, 6]. First, a faint S-curve interrupts a photo collage of a parrot on a stick; next, heavy lines accentuate the cloth that covers 1

2 3

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It is noteworthy that, in choosing “The Pledge” as a title for his project, Singh settled on the name of the first stage of a magic trick, when the magician presents the audience with an object to be transformed, rather than on “The Prestige,” the final stage when the object is miraculously restored. But what interests Singh is precisely the notion of imaginative potential rather than its resolution. Unpublished artist’s statement about the Assembly Instructions: The Pledge (2012). Email correspondence with the author, August 28, 2012.


PL . 4

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier-Wahler), 2011


PL . 5

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier-Wahler), 2011


PL . 6

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier-Wahler), 2011


it; and finally, quick strokes trace the single remaining feather’s gentle downward path. Asked whether there is any logic to when and where he embellishes the collages with hand-drawn elements, Singh says that the pencil marks usually reference something that is barely there, or that is more imaginary than the other objects. It follows, then, that the above-mentioned clouds and birds are outlined in graphite, as are the heaps of snow that populate Danny Rubin, which showcases the fictionalized town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, from Rubin’s film Groundhog Day [PL. 7]. Hand-drawing is particularly prevalent in this rendering of a place, where swirling lines and tentacular beasties encroach on the stills of the protagonists and evoke, according to Singh, an imaginative space outside the cinematic frame [PLS. 8, 9]. Singh’s hand-rendered additions are only one of several ways in which The Pledge mobilizes drawing. We also read about the interview subjects putting pen to paper or chalk to chalkboard while explaining complicated ideas to the fictionalized Alexandre. For instance, to demonstrate the way in which we forge connections between things in our brains, Michel Gondry “draws two big eyes in front of the brain” and “sketches a little figure jumping around inside.” Scans of diagrams, maps, and illustrations amassed from a variety of disciplines appear throughout the collage portraits. In Donatien Grau we are presented with, among other drawing-related motifs, a photograph of a man scribbling a scientific equation on a blackboard, a dictionary entry on hieroglyphic drawing and an accompanying picture, and an embroidered carpet that encodes, in specific order, all the events in Remembrance of Things Past. When considered alongside these images, even the outstretched arms of ballet dancers standing at a bar evoke drawing [PL. 10]. One might say that drawing not only infuses the collages but also somehow epitomizes them. Or rather, the collages, and the lives they conjure, are shown to be a kind of drawing—a movement toward knowledge that is open-ended, unfixed, and in a constant state of transition.

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PL . 7

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 8

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 9

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 10

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


Four cuts – on Alexandre Singh’s collages André Lepecki

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i when a man is asleep. When a man is asleep he has in a circle round him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly bodies. Instinctively he consults them when he awakes, and in an instant reads off his own position on the earth’s surface and the time that has elapsed during his slumbers; but this ordered procession is apt to grow confused and to break its ranks. —marcel proust, Swann’s Way, (fifth page) Thus, in Proust, as well as in Alexandre Singh, sleep is that which makes all representation—along with its charades—endure a suspension. Chronometry, identity, signification, symbolism… all disappear when a man is asleep. In slumber, one becomes simply a clump of matter alongside matter going through matter’s material business: adjusting metabolic velocities, enduring chemical and electric exchanges, expressing involuntary motions and impersonal actions. One steps out of the world, its affairs, its metrics of temporality, and fuses fully with forces of the earth—gravity, light and darkness, vibrations and noises, temperatures; but one also becomes completely open to the actions and desires of other creatures, their rapaciousness, their lust, their calling. Sleeping, one is closest to reaching a kind of existence enmeshed in the plenum of nature, the plane of matter. Call it immanence, or duration. Dreaming would then be

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PL . 11

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 12

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


less a mode of representing or of imaging unconscious life than a desperate attempt by whatever is left of the subject to hold on to the crust of temporal and mundane affairs. We have a clear image of this equation in one of Singh’s collages in the Danny Rubin series: an oblique human figure, back to us, head pointing down, is framed by two equilateral triangles. The one over the figure’s feet is filled with the word “life”; the other, next to the figure’s head, with “death.” Below the latter we also read, “sleep”; above the former, “wake.” The significant detail of this composition is the thin, circular line bisecting and capturing the body’s torso and head into the arch of a circle. Thanks to this line, the couplet “death”/”sleep” appears as a burrowing of the subject, head first, into the earth’s circumference. In other words, to really experience what it is to experience, bury your head deep into the ground. Be a groundhog, “supreme prognosticator” hibernating in some hole (see the Danny Rubin series, the “Prognosticator of Prognosticators” collage [PL. 11]). For both Proust and Singh, the active task of the artist is to seek such a slumber, but to take it as an action, a practice of supreme experiencing. In the “I the Author” collage in the Donatien Grau series, we find the same idea expressed, only now applied clearly to art-making and to the function of authorship [PL. 12]. The large eye of the I-author burrows into the ground as a seed, from which the kabalistic tree sprouts— suggesting once again that true art is an active mingling with the earth, a wide-eyed slumbering with the plenum of matter. The obverse of this proposition: awake life is but a fragmented collage. First axiom. Other relevant works expressing/indicating the First axiom: A In a collage from the Michel Gondry series, where the sketch of a human head—a decal from Picasso’s 1932 oil on canvas Nude, Green Leaves and Bust—is rendered as a machine expelling “fragments” of “daily life” into a series of curves delineating “the dream” [PL. 13]; B From the same series, the collage of the sleeping child who dreams nothing [PL. 14]. C The entirety of the Danny Rubin series, based on the film Groundhog Day, a film script in which, even as all events repeat

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PL . 13

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 14

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


themselves endlessly, what is hardest is for Bill Murray’s character, Phil, to be inside time. Instead, events pass before him, as if time was a sheet detached from the plane of matter—time as a film, or artificial surface, to which human affairs adhere. Significantly, “Phil” is also the name of the groundhog: the creature of the earth in tune with the skies.

ii the order of the heavenly bodies. It is clear then: the plenum of matter is reached only in active slumber. Only then the entirety of my being partakes of the same motions as that of the physical world. Only then the laws regulating my body, my subjectivity, my perceptions (I/eye), are revealed to be indistinct regarding the ones regulating stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies. Waking up marks, identifies, and produces a radical tear in this plenum—the distinction “I” / “World.” Contrary to all common sense, this tearing, which defines “vigil,” produces a radical reduction of experience, which can now be correctly defined as amounting to nothing more than an endless effort of gluing together bits and pieces of misperceived representations. In other words, lived experience does not encompass perception but only pastes representations: clocks, names, family relations, business, love affairs, art fairs, tastes, money, labor, crimes, literature, and politics are all but expressions of this fundamental shattering of the plenum of matter into a world of representation produced by awake life. This is Gilles Deleuze’s insight: “the opposite of the concrete”—i.e. the opposite of the plenum of matter— “is not the abstract, but the discrete.”1 Awake, all we have before us are discrete shards of a broken surface we like to call the world. Any hope for scientific revelation, through methods of rationally suturing this already shattered reality, is just a vain re-veiling of its mysteries. In several of Singh’s collages we see the need to insist on this truth, once and again, as if not only art but also life depended on it. Thus, 1

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Gilles Deleuze, Lecture on Kant, University of Paris VIII, Vincennes, March 3, 1978. Available at http://www.webdeleuze.com/php/textephp?cle=68 &groupe=Kant&langue=2


his quest, his search, his research (of lost time, but also of a lost art of being fully in time by being fully alongside matter) has to take a precise quality. Perhaps magic is the name for it. Rather than deciphering symbols in order to access the concrete, Singh’s re/search must take any symbol, any bit of representation, as already being a literal clump of matter. This is Proust’s lesson, one that Singh knows extremely well: “I came to understand that the arresting strangeness, the special beauty of those collages derived from the great part played in them by symbolism, and the fact that this was represented not as a symbol (for the thought symbolized was nowhere expressed), but as a reality, actually felt or materially handled, added something more precise and more literal to the meaning of the work, something more concrete and more striking to the lesson it imparted.”2 The artist’s task then is to grab representation, treat it not as representation but as sheer matter, and then bite it, chew it, swallow it, become one with it concretely, viscerally, and literally (this is the artist’s supposed irrationality, his voracious slumber-in-vigil). This is why, in the Michel Gondry series, Singh offers us nothing less than five images showing Picasso (not just as icon of the Absolute Painter but more concretely as the artist who perceived and painted pieces of time as clumps of matter, and the one who first glued bits of stuff onto a painting’s surface, [cf. Nature-morte à la chaise cannée, 1912]) voraciously eating up a chameleon—that unique creature able to become one with the surrounding environment (the chameleon as active reversibility between earth and organism, experiential Moebius-strip embodied as beast). It’s as if Singh is telling us: the superlative artist is anyone who dares eating up, raw, the most concrete of creatures, anyone who gives up the discreteness of the world, along with its partial views, and dares to become one with the full concreteness of the earth. This is the artist’s true magical act: to become one with plain matter by being an active sleeper—the opposite of a passive dreamer. This, of course, was also Proust’s insight, in Les Plaisirs et les Jours (1896), in which the tension between vigil and slumber is definitely resolved 2

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Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume I: Swann’s Way (New York: Modern Library Classics, 1998), 112. Emphasis added.


PL . 15

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 16

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


in favor of an “obscure” and “heavy dream” without images, a bestial rumination, which has nothing of the pejorative about it but rather is described and perceived as fully living: “It is better to dream your life than to live it, even though living it is still dreaming it, albeit less mysteriously and less clearly, in a dark, heavy dream, like the dream diffused through the dim awareness of ruminating beasts.”3 (On beasts as necessary partners in art, see the lonely lamb from the Donatien Grau series [PL. 15]; the odd isomorphism of brain and stomach, the two organs of rumination, in several collages in the Michel Gondry series; the two “Bull” lithographs [PL. 16]; and again all the works emphasized in Section I, above). The question then boils down to discovering or inventing a method to access the concrete from our world of discretes. This method is Alexandre Singh’s art of collage, which is less abstract than hieroglyphic. In this sense, it is an art that adheres completely to the plane of matter (while adhering also to a lost vein in art history, the one found, for instance, in the extraordinary early seventeenthcentury collage-looking paintings on slabs of marble by Filippo Napoletano, which, compositionally, resonate eerily with Singh’s collages). This is also why Singh’s has to be a slumbering art—so that it may burrow into a lost experience of art: to adhere to the open exteriority of the universe. Second axiom: the inside of experience is the slumbering outside of the cosmos. Other relevant works to the Second axiom: A Picasso’s mouth spitting out bits of the world as if from a cave: the artist’s cranium as factory of the world of representations from Michel Gondry [PL. 17]. B The emptied out, dangling eye, from Michel Gondry [PL. 13]. C The 8mm film strip incized with different forms by a hole punch from Michel Gondry [PL. 18]) D In the Donatien Grau series, the reader as animal in the wild [PL. 19]. 3

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Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Days, trans. A. N. Wilson (London: Hesperus Classics, 2004), 116.


PL . 17

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 18

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 19

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 20

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


iii in an instant reads off his own position. Alexandre Singh operates: cutting up, arranging, and finally suturing bits of representations over a support that is only apparently neutral. But composing the collages is just preliminary work. Fixing them on a gallery’s walls, Singh also traces several lines connecting some collages to others. Or perhaps it is only one single connecting line. This line weaves clusters or constellations making each piece of paper an element in a larger hieroglyph. We see this hieroglyphic nature emerge explicitly in one particular collage from the Donatien Grau series [PL. 20]. Over it, a series of dots, vertically aligned, create a section of a curve, which indicates what we could call “the line of interpretation.” As images are clustered, they form perhaps a sentence, perhaps paragraphs, perhaps chapters. The exhibition becomes a book, or even a library. The question is to know where to start reading. Singh offers us at least two answers to this question. First, by insisting on not marking a beginning or starting point. Secondly, by indicating point blank, as a figure in the Donatien Grau series explicitly shows, that we must start “in media res” [PL. 21]. Starting already in the middle all we need to do is to follow, perhaps with our fingertips, the connecting lines Singh carefully draws on the gallery’s walls. By uniting the disparate, the lines (or line) operate(s) as a kind of hyphen. So, in the middle we begin, and we use our connective capacity to turn apparently disparate things into a whole plane of composition by an operation of hyphenation. We link matters and memories in order to devise the plan of composition of Singh’s particularly opaque, particularly encyclopedic work. But why the convolution? Why this asymptotic assembling of more or less obscure references, symbols, icons, fragments? In order to propose a blasphemous mystery, which goes at the slumbering heart of matters in art history. As we look at cutouts of groundhogs, trains, tapestries, landscapes, eighteenth-century paintings, bits of encyclopedic entries, scanned train tickets, scribbled notes, flying stairways, astronauts, photocopied reproductions of Picasso paintings, stills from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, we can sense something else is lurking, not underneath these images, but plainly at their surface.

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PL . 21

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 22

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


We are thus lured into Singh’s search, we are literally displaced from viewership and placed right in the position of the author/narrator as researcher. We become surrogates of Marcel Proust, surrogates of Alexandre Singh, searching for that which in (historical) time would have (inevitably) been lost. Like so many Moebius strips present in almost all of his series, the surface of Singh’s collages becomes a paradoxical volume, thick and infra-thin, metaphoric and literal, a plane where we are all implicated, already placed in it even as we observe it, occupying it even as we stay at a distance. The search, the research, is now ours: Third axiom. Other relevant works to the Third axiom : A The many representations of Moebius strips in the Danny Rubin series. B The transformation of the Moebius strip from a spatial paradox into a temporal one in the same series. C The further transformation of that image into hermetic symbols (the amphisbaena, or ouroboros) in the Donatien Grau series.

iv the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years. It is impossible not to acknowledge: Singh’s collages all point, incontrovertibly, to “a secret.” In this sense they participate in a long tradition of a hermetic history of art. It is a history where singular symbols (as incantatory as they might be in their individual expression) are nothing but opaque fragments until a link is drawn (this drawing happens both visually, through the artist’s hand, and virtually, through the viewer’s capacity to pick up the signs and access the secret). Which means that all the individual collages really are elements in a vast tapestry of hermetic weaving. 1896. London. Henry James publishes an intriguing little novel, The Figure in the Carpet. Basic plot: an author admonishes an admirer that he has not understood anything of his oeuvre, which throughout, explains the author, has a “secret” for “the critic to find,” but one hidden “like a complex figure in an Persian carpet.”

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1896. Paris. Proust starts to work as a volunteer in the Bibliothèque Mazarine—a place where James’ little book showed up almost immediately, where Proust apparently “did nothing” for many years (except to read), and a place where it all perhaps began. What? The weaving of a secret. A weaving whose threads, patterns, contours, and meaning Singh gives us to see in the entirety of the Donatien Grau series. Which, not by chance, starts with references to hieroglyphs and ends with several collages dissecting a huge Persian carpet as if it were a map, a palimpsest, or a labyrinth. Thus, knowing that the quest is ours (Third axiom), that experience is but a slab of the cosmos (Second axiom), and that there is a plenum underneath fragmented experience (First axiom), what is there to see? What is the persistent, secret “figure in the carpet”? We know that there is one single theme in all of Singh’s collages: time. Let’s take this as a thread and enter the carpet-labyrinth. “In media res” “I am going to dance forwards” into the labyrinth (to quote from two collages in the Donatien Grau series prefacing the appearing of the carpet-labyrinth). There are obscure insistences in all the collage series: cosmos, stars, Stanley Kubrick’s black monolith, Moebius strips, carpets as labyrinths suspended on a starred universe as maps to find lost time, ouroboros everywhere… The entirety of art history is all there—isn’t the French uniformed “Maréchal de Camp,” appearing twice in the Danny Rubin series looking straight into our eyes as he writes the script of Groundhog Day, that other Marcel Duchamp, who also adhered art to matter and then virtualized it completely with the concept of the infrathin?—conspiring to reveal the secret, that only active sleepers as ruminant beasts of true experience can know: that as we search for time lost we discover the inexistence of time itself. Time is not lost. Time is that which has to be lost in order for another order to emerge. This is why the Greek amphitheater is a machine for all sorts of luminescent futuristic plasmatic circuits (cf. the Donatien Grau series, [PL. 22]). Indeed, from the Amphisbène constellation to the collapse of cinema with eighteenth-century painting (cf. the Danny Rubin series, [PL. 23]), all that these collages insist on showing us are circuits, velocities, and actions. But never time. The search for

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PL . 23

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 24

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


lost time is the discovery of the necessity to be done with the category of time. Last axiom: in the end is my beginning; meanwhile, in the middle, all we do is to cut, glue, and act.4 Other relevant works to the Fourth axiom: A All.

4

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This essay’s “figure in the carpet” is from the Donatien Grau series. From “liben” to “Licinius,” the photocopied Latin dictionary reveals the intimate etymological links between liberty, delight, and books. Thus, two liberties were taken regarding the two books by Proust quoted above. The task to find them is yours to take.


The Bridges of Königsberg Vincenzo Latronico

Editorial Note: Novelist Vincenzo Latronico was commissioned to write a text about three of Alexandre Singh’s Assembly Instructions. He never sent in a final version of his contribution, and he stopped answering mail from the editors shortly before the text was due for publication. He had, over the previous month, furnished the beginnings of several versions that he subsequently discarded, either at the editors’ request or out of his own dissatisfaction. Although partial and intermittent, we feel the combination of these introductions might still suggest some not altogether irrelevant ways of approaching Singh’s works. A set of wrong directions is misleading; a collection of many such sets is a map. The title is the last thing he communicated when proofs for the catalogue were being typeset; it referred to a text that was still in the making.

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1. This text, as its commissioning statement reads, is “an exceedingly close reading” of a selection of Alexandre Singh’s Assembly Instructions—sets of collages each centered on the personality, interests, and professional practice of a specific individual. Each composition is paired with a scripted conversation between the artist and the person to whom the collages refer, with occasional incursions by third parties, small animals, prodigies, and natural phenomena. Both parts of the work are explicitly narrative in character. If their subjects (Simon Fujiwara, Marc-Olivier Wahler, Alfredo Arias) had been products of Singh’s imagination, this would qualify the work as fictional. But they are not; therefore, if read exceedingly closely, this work is either a collection of transcriptions and photographs or a collection of lies. In what follows I will argue that it is neither. The fact/fiction dichotomy, while extremely relevant in assessing the “truth” of a given statement— an assessment which is highly prized in certain contexts—sidesteps the fact that such a statement could be performative rather than descriptive, that its aim could be the production of a state of affairs rather than its depiction. Or, to put it another way, I will try to show that those lies have a job to do. This job is

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2. Alexandre Singh’s Assembly Instructions are expansive installations composed of black-and-white collages connected by solid or dotted lines. Each group of pictures focuses, to a degree, on images and ideas prompted by, or associated with, the personality and oeuvre of someone Singh feels intellectually close to. They often extend to several walls, branching out in sets and subsets of images where specific patterns and symbols are iterated and expanded upon as the diagram unfolds. In Simon Fujiwara’s case, for instance, those symbols are the tower of Babel, the phallus, and the frame—a general stand-in for any artistic or documentary procedure that offers one degree of removal from what it depicts. The connections between images follow a sometimes explicit yet never wholly decipherable logic. Some are clearly pictorial in character (the tip of a skyscraper leading, with an upward link, to a cloud); some seem to suggest a narrative (a projector leading to a hand holding a slide); some imply a transformation or a distancing not unlike the grammatical function of “quotes” (a picture of the tower of Babel connected to a picture of a picture of the tower of Babel). Note that these connections have no arrows, so any reading, even those as explicit as the ones just mentioned, could just as easily have been construed the other way round. This distinct logical relation, which overlaps with association, inclusion, and explanation, but is identical to none of these, and has no intrinsic ordering, was originally pioneered in “mind maps,” visual remembering aids developed in the 1970s by pop psychologist Tony Buzan. Mind maps also bear a striking resemblance, at least at first sight, to Singh’s Assembly Instructions. The choice of the term is by no means metaphorical: for Buzan, those really were maps—of a memory palace. The technique of the memory palace gets more fascinating as we outsource our remembering to increasingly abstract devices: a page, a hard disk, a cloud. It also gets more surprising; and what we’re

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surprised by is its striking precision, its exhaustiveness, its depth. We have a hard time believing so many details can be stored and retrieved without loss in something as untechnological as ourselves. On the other hand, we accept without flinching that such a memory technique is a creative act. A memory palace isn’t populated by the objects of remembrance themselves, but by elaborate visual cues, invented so as to maximize the likelihood of one’s mind retaining them. This is done by exaggerating relevant traits (a giant is easier to remember than someone slightly taller than average), and by adding arbitrary sexual imagery wherever possible (as explicit content is known to trigger the attention mechanism). Take a stroll through a memory palace and you might see something closer to a line-up of dirty forgeries than to your usual portrait gallery. The first image in the set of Assembly Instructions devoted to the artist Simon Fujiwara, for instance, depicts the partially crumbled statue of an oversized penis [PLS. 25, 26]. Towers, too, bear a clear associative relation with the phallus, and towers abound in this set of works, both in the form of the biblical myth and as a long, central skyscraper spanning several stacked images. In one of those pictures, Simon Fujiwara is portrayed as sitting on a copy of the tower of Babel as depicted by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Moreover, all of these symbols not only act as “memory enhancers,” making their content more memorable, they also double as standins for specific notions or emotions that Singh presumably attaches to what they depict. The tower and the phallus could also refer to the focus of Fujiwara’s research on the politics and ethics of sex life, just as the tower of Babel and the skyscraper could be proxies for professional ambition (Fujiwara’s, or Singh’s own, in thinking of a “colleague”). Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, in his seventeenthcentury treatise on the art of memory, already acknowledged the importance of filling one’s memory palace with symbols that have a double use (mnemonic and associative). This could be a sign we’re on the right track.

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PL . 25

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 26

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


3. From: Mr. Francis Handrop – The Orbis Tertius Revenue Service To: Mr. Alexandre Singh Re: PROPOSED DETERMINATION (Denial of Exemption) Dear Taxpayer, Based on information supplied, and assuming your operations will be as stated in your exemption application, we have determined that your production will be subject to taxation by the Orbis Tertius Revenue Service. We considered your Form 1984, Request for Exemption from the Borges Tax, and are prepared to issue a determination denying your claim. Some products in your “Assembly Instructions” product line, as defined in the documents attached to your application (most notably those gathered in the folder labeled “PALAIS/Magazine issue 14”) have been found to rely on value-added services provided by one or more residents of Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. The exemption categories invoked in said application (1.7: “indirect influence”; 2.1: “common knowledge”; 2.2: “Zeitgeist”; 3.1: “tongue-in-cheek”) apply exclusively to products in which the influence of Orbis Tertius residents is found to be “negligible”, “intangible,” or “impossible to ascribe to a specific segment of the product.” None of these conditions has been determined to apply to your case. This letter is not a denial of your exemption claim, but if you do not respond to this letter within 30 days we will send you a letter denying your claim. Grounds for the determination include:

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[…] - The conversation features several versions (OLD, CHILD and DOUBLE) of the two people purportedly having the conversation – Mr. Fujiwara and yourself. It is unclear which of the three is the author of the piece. REF: “It’s to that other one, to Borges, that things happen. I walk through Buenos Aires […]I continue ceding to him everything, even though I am aware of his perverse tendency to falsify and magnify […]I do not know which of the two is writing this piece.” The collected works of J. L. B., p. 160. - That same conversation starts with Mr. Fujiwara saying “Which parts of my performances are real and which are made up? I find that question so hard to answer.” The exact same words occur, uttered by a younger version of the same Mr. Fujiwara, at the end of said conversation, thus inducing a potentially endless array of repetitions. This is an instance of “cyclical time” or “eternal return.” REF: “I eternally return on eternal return,” The collected works of J. L. B., p. 734. - The initial part of said conversation describes The Arabian Nights as a compilation of “countless tales that have been told again and again.” REF: “The Thousand and One Nights […] is a book so vast that it is not necessary to have read it, for it is a part of our memory.” The collected works of J. L. B., p. 1098. - Later, in the same conversation, a so-called ART PROFESSOR asks: “Have you considered people are less likely to question your sincerity when a performance has its basis in your own autobiography?” REF: “This book is no more than appearance, than a surface of images; for that very reason, it may prove enjoyable. Its author was an unhappy man, but he amused himself writing it.” The collected works of J. L. B., p. 542. - In another conversation, Mr. Arias remarks: “Une démarche intellectuelle peut consister à s’introduire dans

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la matière même du texte.” The English translation of this, as provided in that same publication, is: “One can delve into the text itself.” This translation has been determined to be potentially misleading—in a way that would cause you to be exempted from taxation by this office, as we shall see, and that hence can be considered a misrepresentation. A more revealing and equally adequate translation would have been: “An intellectual strategy could be to smuggle yourself within the text.” This is taken to be relevant as, shortly beforehand in the same conversation, Mr. Arias makes the text’s only reference to the name of Jorge Luis Borges—and, more importantly, in the context of “mirrors.” […]

The Central Office of Appeals in Tlön, Uqbar, will not consider cases involving this issue. If you are not prepared to settle your debt with the Orbis Tertius Revenue service (which includes tax, interests and administrative fees) we are offering you the following options regarding your case. a. Transfer all intellectual property rights of said issue of PALAIS / Magazine to Jorge Luis Borges, to The Estate of Jorge Luis Borges or to a legally appointed representative thereof. b. Provide a sworn statement declaring yourself to be channeling the spirit of Jorge Luis Borges, of The Estate of Jorge Luis Borges or of a legally appointed representative thereof. c.

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4. Itaque non liquet utrum idonei testis auctoritatem sit secutus an levem biographi alicujus famam, quod mendacissimum fuit genus hominum, quos satis constat narratiunculas plurimas prope de nihilo finxisse. —carl wilhelm dindorf, Ad Sophoclis tragœdias annotationes (1836)1 Only in recent times has the art of biography been concerned with facts. Or, rather, only in recent times has the art of biography defined the “facts” concerning it as “things that are indisputably the case,” as their current dictionary definitions go. Quite to the contrary, in the genre’s beginnings this definition never failed to include things that should have been the case—for some moral, aesthetic, or epistemological meaning of “should” (the three were considered, to a large degree, to overlap). This approach to biography can be also found in Alexandre Singh’s visual and textual portraits of Alfredo Arias, Simon Fujiwara, and Marc-Olivier Wahler. Deaths, in this, are particularly relevant. The philosopher Anaxarchus of Abdera is said to have died spitting his severed tongue into the face of the tyrant who had ordered his torture. Pliny the Elder’s biographies link his death to a volcanic eruption he meant to study but to which he ventured too close. Empedocles vanished while sleeping with his lover in a glade. The young man reported that he heard a disembodied voice from the sky shout the poet’s name just before he disappeared. It is pointless to wonder if these deaths actually took place (we have the right to doubt at least the last). They should have taken place, because they embody and sum up everything the people they are ascribed to stood for: their personality, their beliefs, their intellectual history. They develop themes which were undoubtedly crucial in each subject’s life (the struggle for freedom, the pursuit of knowledge, a curious relationship with divinities)—they close threads. It would have been a mistake, on the biographer’s part, to leave those threads 1

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Trans.: Hence it isn’t clear whether we should follow the authority of a suitable witness or the volatile fame of some obscure biographer: men of the most mendacious kind, who famously made up many of their little stories from thin air.


hanging, as this would only have made his text less consistent and compact; and this lack would have detracted from the text’s object, the subject’s life itself. Consider the conversation between Marc-Olivier Wahler and Alexandre Singh, as published in issue 14 of PALAIS / Magazine. The issue features an introduction by Marc-Olivier Wahler, then Director of the Palais de Tokyo, which inclines readers to presume that the conversation which follows will have a similar truth status; a curatorartist conversation is a common introductory device to an artist’s book or catalogue. It is and it isn’t. We conventionally ascribe to such conversations some degree of factuality, even though we know that they could have resulted from an exchange of e-mails over several months, that they could have been edited, that they could even have been made possible by the mediation of a translator. But none of this challenges the perceived truthfulness of the conversation’s contents. We know the conversation to be a codified form of discourse, and we accept whatever distortion the actual spoken or written words might have endured to fit this form as something that adds to, rather than detracts from, its “factuality.” What we want the conversation to be truthful about is not its setting or the order in which the words were pronounced, but the spirit: of the artist’s practice, of the curator’s concerns, of the artworks’ aspect and nature. This is quite similar to what in antiquity was expected of biographies. And yet, switch back to that conversation between Singh and Wahler. That Palais de Tokyo is not the Palais de Tokyo. It has huge vaulted ceilings and labyrinthine storage rooms. The exhibitions the two walk through during their chat are not exhibitions Marc-Olivier Wahler actually curated. Even when they do mirror some of their details (title, themes, specific included works), they are transfigured to the point of… The picture of Wahler walking through a forest of empty white plinths, and the corresponding frequency of depictions of theatrical settings and birds… Alfredo Arias’s home could very well be just where it is described to be; and the original conversation, the basis for the published script, could very well have taken place there. Later in the conversation,

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however, that same house descends on a stage where Arias and Singh are talking… But of course Simon Fujiwara and Alexandre Singh probably never studied together as children. And yet, would thinking they actually had give us more insight into their practices and ideas? And if this were the case, what exactly would be the advantage in not thinking it?

5. Giuseppe Dino Baldi, Fabulous Deaths of the Ancients (my translation): “Often, for Greeks and Romans, true reality (what we consider true) had no particular privilege over invented reality (what we consider invented), and the fact that something had happened did not grant it any advantage over something that had not but that should have, according to opportunity or common sense. […] If something did not add up they adjusted it until it did, one way or another; if a death did not fit the life it was to be the peak of, it had to be corrected, using words to emend any mistake made by nature or fate.” (an extreme instance of interpretive charity)

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Fancy Mice: An Investigation of Alexandre Singh’s Source Images Jill Magid1

1

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Additional research provided by professional fact checker Beth Heidi Adelman.


PL . 27

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 27 The computer is IBM’s SAGE 1954. SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) is a large semi-automated air defense system from the Cold War era. It would analyze radar data in real time to identify Soviet bombers and is the largest, heaviest, and most expensive computer system ever built. The machine weighed 300 tons and occupied one floor of a concrete blockhouse. It had a Dual Processor: one online and the other for training, maintenance, and hot backup. It cost approximately $10 billion in 1954 ($83,893,000,000 in 2012). When fully deployed in 1963, the system consisted of 27 centers throughout North America, each with a duplexed AN/FSQ-7 computer system containing over 50,000 vacuum tubes weighing 250 tons and occupying an acre of floor space. SAGE was the first large computer network to provide man-machine interaction in real time. When some of the older SAGE memory units were replaced, they found new life as props in Irwin Allen’s television series The Time Tunnel (1966–1967) and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964–1968), and in Arthur P. Jacobs’s film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). The SAGE radar display console seen here presents a picture of the air defense situation within its assigned geographic area. Using buttons and switches on the console, the Air Force Airman First Class who is operating it can call up information such as speed, altitude, and weapons availability and location, and he can direct action to be taken against an attacker. With the light gun in his hand, the operator selects radar tracks for identification and display on the SAGE Direction Center’s summary board. In the image, the operator in the middle is holding the light gun and pointing it at his screen. The operators at the center console and on the left are members of the Air Force, as indicated by the insignia on their arms. The operators’ haircut is called “short back and sides,” a men’s wartime hairstyle which was standard until the early 1960s and often incorporated a little dab of Brylcream (“a little dab’ll do ya!”) to keep it parted and in place.

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PL . 28

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 28 This is a human brain. This is an oyster shell. The plate is from Japan, made between 1734–1737, during the Edo period (1615–1868). It is porcelain painted with cobalt blue under, and colored enamels over, transparent glaze (Hizen ware; Imari type). It can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gallery 201, labeled as “Dish Depicting Lady with a Parasol,” accession number 2002.447.122. The plate is credited to the Dr. and Mrs. Roger G. Gerry Collection, Bequest of Dr. and Mrs. Roger G. Gerry, 2000. The artist has added the black umbrella on the ground. A replica of this plate can be found at The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology at Oxford University, in the Japan 1600–1850 Gallery, Room 37, on the second floor. Another copy is listed by the online auction house Aspire Auctions as part of sale number 34, Lot 497: “La Dame au Parasol, Chinese export plate for the Dutch East India Co., c. 1745–1750.” These copies are transitional plates painted after a design by the Dutch draughtsman Cornelis Pronk (Amsterdam, 1691–1759) depicting an Oriental lady and her parasol-bearing attendant watching three colorful water birds. In 1734, the Dutch East India Company commissioned Pronk to design a set of plates in Chinese porcelain (so-called chine de commande), which were produced in China, shipped to Europe, and sold there at an extremely high price. A set of blue-white plates would sell for 1160 Dutch guilders—enough to buy a house in Amsterdam. Pronk made four different designs, of which The Parasol Ladies was most popular. Correction: The lady with parasol dish is not the one indicated above but another one that also belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is kept in the same room, Gallery 201. The correct plate is called “Plate depicting lady with parasol,” after a design by Cornelis Pronk, c. 1734–1737. Accession number 68.153.

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PL . 29

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 29 This type of glass, generally, is called a tumbler, and its tapered design has a history: The late Finnish designer Kaj Franck (1911-1989) believed in paring away frills to expose straightforward, practical forms in tableware. He also believed the modern home could benefit in spirit from mixing colors and shapes. Bringing these creative impulses to light, Franck designed the Kartio collection in 1958, and his simple, tapered glassware has been a design classic ever since. Kaj Franck has been described as the conscience of Finnish design. He was awarded a number of Finnish and international awards and prizes for his designs, and his work has been displayed in many design museums around the world. Some of his most famous objects are the Teema tableware and the Kartio glass series. Some tumblers of this design are available for sale now on Amazon from the Finish company Iittala: The Kartio drinking glass, available in a 7-ounce juice size or 13-ounce all-purpose beverage tumbler, is packaged in a set of two, in a choice of clear or tinted. Iittala also produces Kartio carafes, pitchers, and bowls in the same beautiful blue-to-green range. Made in Finland only by Iittala, the four-and-ahalf-by-three-and-a-half-inch Kartio tumblers are safe for dishwasher cleaning and make terrific gifts. The fish is a perch: Perch is a freshwater fish. It belongs to the Percidae family, which is the family of ray-finned fish. These species have a well-proportioned body but vary in their structure. Some of them are singularly highbacked whereas others are low and long-bodied. Perciformes is the order to which this fish belongs. It contains more than 150 families and more than 6000 species. Among the 150 families, 30 families are still a mystery to scientists, who know little about their habits and behavior.

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Perch are rich greenish-brown with golden reflections on their back and side. They have around five to seven dark cross-bands on their back. There is a large black spot, which occupies the membrane between the last spines of the dorsal and ventral fins. They have striped bodies, which help them to hide in aquatic vegetation (males are more brightly colored than the females). They have rough scales on their gill plates, which culminate in their sharp bony spike. They are found in Britain, South Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and grow up to a size between five and twelve inches and may weigh up to four pounds. Perch are carnivorous and swim in small groups in search of food, generally small marine fish, nymphs, worms, and larvae. Their lifestyle is known as “semianadromous.� They can be seen migrating to tidal water and brackish water. Being freshwater fish, they are found in ponds, lakes, and rivers. During winter seasons they usually drift to downstream portions of rivers. The white and flaky meat of these fish is very tasty and is rich in nutrition. It is low in fats and rich in phosphorous, manganese, selenium, and vitamin B12, making it very popular among seafoods. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are high in cholesterol, so it should be eaten only occasionally. Perch is consumed all over the world and generates substantial commercial income for fish farmers. A variety of fishing methods have been devised to trap them. Most common are lure fishing and float fishing, but Perch are notorious for being cunning, so subtle techniques are needed to catch them. The bird is a bald eagle. This position of talons extended is the position bald eagles assume when they catch a fish. The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a member of the sea and fish eagle group. Its closest relatives, similar in appearance and habit, are found in Africa and Asia. Even though they are fish

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eaters, they will take ducks and birds or whatever prey is available and easiest to obtain. Eagles sit at the top of the food chain. Because of their size, they have few enemies and require a large hunting area. A bald eagle’s lifting power is about four pounds. Bald eagles will take advantage of carrion (dead and decaying flesh). Because of its scavenger image, some people dislike the bald eagle. Other people do not care for powerful and aggressive birds. Still other people object merely on the grounds that it is a bird of prey, which kills other animals for food. Once an eagle spots a fish swimming or floating near the surface of the water, it approaches its prey in a shallow glide and snatches the fish out of the water with a quick swipe of its talons. Eagles can open and close their talons at will. If an eagle is dragged into the water by a fish too large for the eagle to lift, it is because the eagle refuses to release it. In some cases this is due to hunger. An eagle might drown during the encounter with the fish or if it’s unable to swim far enough to reach shore. The eagle cannot fly again until it’s out of the water, so it uses its large wings to swim. The eagle is a strong swimmer, but if the water is very cold, it may be overcome by hypothermia. Because of the energy expended during hunting, an eagle has to spend a lot of time resting quietly. It’s estimated that only one out of eighteen attacks are successful. An eagle can consume one pound of fish in about four minutes. The eagle holds its prey with one talon, holds onto its perch with the other, then tears off each bite with its beak. The bald eagle became the National emblem in 1782 when The Great Seal of the United States was adopted.

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PL . 30

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 30 This is a human brain. The computer the controller is operating is a UNIVAC. The UNIVAC was the world’s first commercially available computer. UNIVAC stands for UNIVersal Automatic Computer, and was first introduced in 1951. From 1951 to 1958 a total of 46 UNIVAC I computers were delivered, all of which have since been phased out. The UNIVAC handled both numbers and alphabetic characters equally well. The UNIVAC I was unique in that it separated the complex problems of input and output from the actual computation facility. Mercury delay lines were used to store the computer’s program. The program circulated within the lines in the form of acoustical pulses that could be read from the line and written into it. The first UNIVAC came on line for the U.S. Government’s Census Bureau. The first commercial customer to purchase a UNIVAC was the Prudential Insurance Company. In 1952, the UNIVAC I successfully predicted the outcome of the 1952 presidential election, during a televised news broadcast anchored by Walter Cronkite.

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PL . 31

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 31 This is a fancy mouse. Fancy mice (“fancy” means “hobby” in this context) are domesticated breeds of the common or house mouse (Mus musculus). The terms “fancy” and “feeder mice” are often used interchangeably by retailers, and are in fact the same variety of mouse. Fancy mice is a term to describe mice that have been selectively bred for exhibition. They can vary greatly in size, from small pet mice that are approximately 15–17.5 cm (6–7 inches) long from nose to the tip of the tail, to show mice that measure 30 cm (12 inches) nose to tail. Pet mice weigh about 29–44 g (1.0–1.6 oz) but large show mice can weigh up to 130 g (4.6 oz). There are several clubs all over the world that host shows for mice (similar to rat shows). Shows are held in the US, the UK, and Australia most commonly. Clubs include AFRMA (American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association, US), ECMA (East Coast Mouse Association, US), RMCC (Rat and Mouse Club of China, US), NMC (National Mouse Club, UK), and more. A quote from the NMC describes the ideal mouse body type for showing: “The mouse must be long on body with long clean head, not too fine or pointed at the nose, the eyes should be large, bold and prominent. The ears large and tulip shaped, free from creases, carried erect with plenty of width between them. The body should be long and slim, a trifle arched over the loin and racy in appearance; the tail, which must be free from kinks should come well out of the back and be thick at the root or set-on, gradually tapering like a whip lash to a fine end, the length being about equal to that of the mouse’s body. Unless the variety standard states otherwise, the coat should be short perfectly smooth, glossy and sleek to the hand. The mouse should be perfectly tractable and free from any vice and not subject to fits or other similar ailments. A mouse with absence of whiskers, blind in one or both eyes, carrying external parasites, having a tumour, sore or legs with fur missing, suffering from any obvious disease or deformity or kinked tail shall be disqualified.”

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PL . 32

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 32 This image most likely came from the International Motion Picture Almanac (edited by Martin Quigley Jr., Quigley Publishing Company, Inc., Groton, MA) which is often referred to as “The Bible” in the Motion Picture Industry and contains over 400 pages of biographies and 500 pages of reference material. The complete set, which dates back to 1928, contains the biography of everyone who has ever been of importance to the Industry. Each edition includes thousands of company listings, credits for current films and films released in the prior ten years, statistics and awards, and complete coverage of all aspects of the Industry, including notes on production, distribution, and exhibition. 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 Marie Marie Will Shirley Shirley Shirley Shirley Mickey Mickey Dressler Dressler Rogers Temple Temple Temple Temple Rooney Rooney Janet Will Clark Will Clark Clark Clark Tyrone Spencer Gaynor Rogers Gable Rogers Gable Gable Gable Power Tracy Joan Janet Janet Clark Fred Astaire Robert Crawford Gaynor Gaynor Gable and Ginger Taylor Rogers

Sonja Henie

Spencer Tracy

Clark Gable

Charles Eddie Wallace Fred Astaire Robert Farrell Cantor Beery and Ginger Taylor Rogers

Bing Crosby

Mickey Rooney

Clark Gable

Gene Autry

Greta Garbo

Williaam Powell

Spencer Tracy

Shirley Tyrone Temple Power

Wallace Beery

Mae West

Joan Joe E. Crawford Brown

Norma Jean Joan Claudette Dick Jane Robert Bette James Shearer Harlow Crawford Colbert Powell Withers Taylor Davis Cagney Wallace Clarke Bing Dick Joan Fred Astaire Myrna Beery Gable Crosby Powell Crawford and Ginger Loy Rogers Clark Mae Gable West

Alice Faye

Bing Crosby

Shirley Wallace Claudette Sonja Jane Errol Wallace Temple Beery Colbert Henie Withers Flynn Beery

Wil Norma Marie Joe E. Jeanette Gary Rogers Shearer Dressler Brown MacDonald Cooper

Alice Faye

James Cagney

Bette Davis

Joe E. Brown

Tyrone Power

Sonja Heinie

Judy Garland

Joan Norma James Gary Myrna Crawford Shearer Cagney Cooper Loy

These tags seem to be the artist’s descriptions based solely on the appearance of the actors in the table. Some very tenuous connections can be made (as noted below). Greta Garbo, Anger: She was known more for being intensely private. She had a sad, cold childhood in Sweden.

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Marie Dressler, Concern: She was a union leader in her stage actress days. She was a plain woman and often played comedy roles because of it. Known for being very generous to other performers. Eddie Cantor, Surprise: Familiar to Broadway, radio, movie, and early television audiences, he was regarded almost as a family member by millions because his top-rated radio shows revealed intimate stories and amusing anecdotes about his wife Ida and five daughters. His eye-rolling song-and-dance routines eventually led to his nickname, “Banjo Eyes.” Mae West, Sarcasm: Famous for her sexual innuendo (“Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!” West replies, “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.”) She also wrote plays and screenplays. She encountered a great deal of censorship in her career. Norma Shearer, Sadness: Her early films cast her as the girl next door, but beginning with the 1930 film The Divorcee, for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress, she played sexually liberated women in sophisticated contemporary comedies. Shearer is widely celebrated by some as one of cinema’s feminist pioneers. Joan Crawford, Contempt: She is perhaps best remembered these days for being an abusive mother to her adopted children. Her career had some highs and lows, and she was married four times. Clark Gable, Irony: Most famous for his role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. He was known as philanderer and a raconteur. James Cagney, Disgust: Famous for playing very tough gangsters. Known as a very stubborn man. Joe E. Brown, Delight: Actor and comedian, remembered for his amiable screen persona, comic timing, and enormous smile. He started out in the circus. Shirley Temple, Terror: (Later Shirley Temple Black) Actress, singer, dancer, former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She

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began her film career at the age of three and played perky little girls who sang and danced. Robert Taylor, Sarkozy: A reference to his physical resemblance to the French President. He was a big supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC) in the 1950s and testified against fellow actors whom he believed to be Communists. William Powell, Melancholy: Powell’s most famous role was Nick Charles in six Thin Man films, based on Dashiell Hammett’s novels. He is known for his sophisticated charm and wit. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Salivating: They made a series of hugely popular song-and-dance romances together. The scuttlebutt was always that they didn’t much like each other, although they always denied it. Mickey Rooney, Fear: Known for the films in which he played Andy Hardy, he was a superstar as a teenager and has had one of the longest careers of any actor, spanning 90 years from the 1920s to the 2010s. He is the last surviving male star from 1930s Hollywood and made a bunch of song-and-dance films with Judy Garland. Tyrone Power, Indifference: Often appearing in swashbuckler roles or romantic leads, he was known for his classic good looks and onscreen intensity. Bette Davis, Alarm: Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, Davis was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, although her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas. She was intensely independent. Bing Crosby, Arousal: Crosby’s trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the twentieth century. He had a clean-cut, good-guy image, but his sons later revealed that he was cold and cruel.

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Judy Garland, Dread: She started appearing in vaudeville at age two and went on to a hugely successful career in films and as a singer. Best known as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, she had emotional problems all her life, and in her later years struggled with drugs and alcohol. She killed herself at age 47. Correction: The image is, in fact, from a Time Life encyclopedia about America in the 1930s. This list of movie stars is from a famous poll conducted by the same Martin Quigley Jr. (and published in the Almanac mentioned). These movie stars are from the list of the top 10 from the very first years of ‘The Poll.’

80


PL . 33

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


pl. 33 This is an oyster shell with a neonate hamster inside. Salt and pepper shakers. Typically 1 oz to 1.5 oz, glass with a chromeplated or stainless-steel screw top. The design is called Eiffel Tower. These shakers are easy to find in restaurant supply stores. They date from the 1940s. Before there were salt and pepper shakers as we know them today, people in the Victorian era placed their salt in open cellars. Salt came in rock form, and it had to be chipped off to be put on food. Early salt shakers were actually salt mills. They contained a device inside the shaker that broke the salt into pieces. This feature may also be found in some salt shakers today. As salt production improved, salt shakers no longer needed the arm to break up the salt. The production of salt and pepper shakers really took off in the 1940s with the birth of modern ceramics. It became easier to make shakers in a variety of shapes and designs. The market for souvenir shakers and novelty shakers grew with the capacity to produce such items affordably. Today, salt and pepper shakers can be found in nearly every conceivable shape and size. They are made in a variety of materials including wood, metal, ceramics, glass, and plastics. It’s sometime said that salt shakers were invented in 1858 by John Mason, the man who invented the screw-top Mason jar. He created a receptacle to hold salt that would evenly distribute it on food by shaking it through several holes punched into a tin cap. But these were short lived, and it wasn’t until just over fifty years later, when the Morton Salt Company of Chicago added magnesium carbonate to their product to make it flow, that the salt shaker can truly be said to have been born.

83


It wasn’t until the mid to late 1920s that figural salt shakers began to be manufactured on a large-scale basis. One of the earliest producers, the German fine quality pottery maker, Goebel, introduced its first three sets of shakers in 1923, and seven years later it had added a further fourteen pairs to its collection. (In 1935 Goebel introduced the first of the famous Hummel figures, some of the most collectible in the salt and pepper shaker world.) As every cloud is supposed to have a silver lining—in this case probably silver-plated—it was the Great Depression of the 1930s that gave a major boost to the popularization of salt and pepper shakers, as both a household and collectible item. Ceramic producers worldwide were forced to restrict production and concentrate on lower-priced items; an obvious product was the humble salt and pepper shaker. Colourful, bright, and cheery, it could be bought for a few coppers at most local hardware stores. Correction: The thing in the oyster shell is not a hamster neonate but a mouse brain.

84


PL . 34

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 35

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 36

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 37

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 38

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 39

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 40

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011


PL . 41

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 42

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 43

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 44

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 45

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 46

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 47

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012


PL . 48

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 49

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 50

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 51

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 52

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 53

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 54

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012


PL . 55

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 56

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 57

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 58

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 59

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 60

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 61

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011


PL . 62

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 63

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 64

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 65

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 66

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 67

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 68

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011


PL . 69

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 70

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 71

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 72

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 73

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 74

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 75

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012


PL . 76

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 77

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 78

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 79

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 80

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


PL . 81

Detail from Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011


LIST OF WORKS

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Assembly Instructions

Set of 34 framed inkjet ultrachrome

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

Set of 47 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Dimensions variable

archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable

All works courtesy of Sprueth Magers, Berlin and London; Art: Concept, Paris; Metro

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011 Set of 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011 Set of 43 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011 Set of 40 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012 Set of 35 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012 Set of 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival prints and dotted pencil lines Dimensions variable

Pictures, New York; Monitor Gallery, Rome.


L I S T O F P L AT E S

PL . 6

Assembly Instructions PL . 1

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier-Wahler), 2011

Assembly Instructions

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Detail from a set of 43

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

Detail from a set of 40 15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

PL . 7

Assembly Instructions PL . 2

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

Assembly Instructions

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Detail from a set of 35

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

Detail from a set of 40 9 1/16 x 19 11/16 inches (23 x 50 cm)

PL . 8

Assembly Instructions PL . 3

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

Assembly Instructions

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Detail from a set of 35

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

Detail from a set of 37 7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)

PL . 9

Assembly Instructions PL . 4

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

Assembly Instructions

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

Detail from a set of 35

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

Detail from a set of 43 11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

PL . 10

Assembly Instructions PL . 5

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Assembly Instructions

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier-Wahler), 2011

Detail from a set of 34

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

9 1/16 x 9 1/16 inches (23 x 23 cm)

Detail from a set of 43 11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)


PL . 11

PL . 16

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 35

Detail from a set of 37

5 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches (13 x 18 cm)

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

PL . 12

PL . 17

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

PL . 13

PL . 18

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 37

9 1/16 x 19 11/16 inches (23 x 50 cm)

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

PL . 14

PL . 19

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 34

15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

8 1/4 x 11 13/16 inches (21 x 30 cm)

PL . 15

PL . 20

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 34

9 1/16 x 19 11/16 inches (23 x 50 cm)

7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)


PL . 21

PL . 26

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 40

15 3/4 x 11 11/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)

15 3/4 x 11 13/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)

PL . 22

PL . 27

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

19 11/16 x 27 9/16 inches (50 x 70 cm)

19 11/16 x 19 11/16 (50 x 50 cm)

PL . 23

PL . 28

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 35

Detail from a set of 37

19 11/16 x 19 11/16 inches (50 x 50 cm)

19 11/16 x 9 1/16 (50 x 23 cm)

PL . 24

PL . 29

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

19 11/16 x 27 9/16 inches (50 x 70 cm)

11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

PL . 25

PL . 30

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 40

Detail from a set of 37

15 3/4 x 11 13/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)

19 11/16 x 19 11/16 (50 x 50 cm)


PL . 31

PL . 36

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 47

9 7/16 x 7 1/8 inches (24 x 18 cm)

19 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm)

PL . 32

PL . 37

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 47

19 11/16 x 15 3/4 (50 x 40 cm)

15 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches (40 x 50 cm)

PL . 33

PL . 38

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 47

7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

PL . 34

PL . 39

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

Set of 47 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

Detail from a set of 47

Dimensions variable

9 7/16 x 7 1/8 inches (24 x 18 cm)

PL . 35

PL . 40

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

(The Pledge: Alfredo Arias), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print and

Detail from a set of 47

dotted pencil lines

11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

Detail from a set of 47 7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)


PL . 41

PL . 46

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

Set of 35 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

Detail from a set of 35

Dimensions variable

19 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm)

PL . 42

PL . 47

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 35

Detail from a set of 35

19 11/16 x 27 9/16 inches (50 x 70 cm)

7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)

PL . 43

PL . 48

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Set of 34 framed inkjet ultrachrome archival

Detail from a set of 35

print and dotted pencil lines

9 7/16 x 7 1/8 inches (24 x 18 cm)

Dimensions variable

PL . 44

PL. 49

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 35

Detail from a set of 34

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

15 3/4 x 11 11/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)

PL . 45

PL . 50

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Danny Rubin), 2012

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 35

Detail from a set of 34

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

11 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)


PL . 51

PL . 56

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

15 3/4 x 11 11/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)

11 13/16 x 8 1/4 inches (30 x 21 cm)

PL . 52

PL . 57

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

9 1/16 x 9 1/16 inches (23 x 23 cm)

19 11/16 x 9 1/16 (50 x 23 cm)

PL . 53

PL . 58

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

11 11/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

9 7/16 x 7 1/8 inches (24 x 18 cm)

PL . 54

PL . 59

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Donatien Grau), 2012

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 34

Detail from a set of 37

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

PL . 55

PL . 60

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

Set of 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

Detail from a set of 37

Dimensions variable

9 7/16 x 7 1/8 inches (24 x 18 cm)


PL . 61

PL . 66

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Leah Kelly), 2011

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 43

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 (30 x 40 cm)

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

PL . 62

PL . 67

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

Set of 43 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

Detail from a set of 43

Dimensions variable

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

PL . 63

PL . 68

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 43

Detail from a set of 43

9 1/16 x 9 1/16 inches (23 x 23 cm)

7 1/8 x 5 1/8 inches (18 x 13 cm)

PL . 64

PL . 69

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Set of 37 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Detail from a set of 43

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

19 11/16 x 27 9/16 inches (50 x 70 cm)

Dimensions variable

PL . 65

PL . 70

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Marc-Olivier Wahler), 2011

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 43

Detail from a set of 37

9 1/16 x 9 1/16 inches (23 x 23 cm)

19 11/16 x 9 1/16 inches (50 x 23 cm)


PL . 71

PL . 76

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Set of 40 framed inkjet ultrachrome

Detail from a set of 37

archival prints and dotted pencil lines

19 11/16 x 9 1/16 inches (50 x 23 cm)

Dimensions variable

PL . 72

PL . 77

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 40

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

PL . 73

PL . 78

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 40

7 1/8 x 9 7/16 inches (18 x 24 cm)

19 11/16 x 19 11/16 inches (50 x 50 cm)

PL . 74

PL . 79

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 40

5 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches (13 x 18 cm)

9 1/16 x 9 1/16 inches (23 x 23 cm)

PL . 75

PL . 80

Assembly Instructions

Assembly Instructions

(The Pledge: Michel Gondry), 2012

(The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print

Detail from a set of 37

Detail from a set of 40

11 13/16 x 15 3/4 inches (30 x 40 cm)

15 3/4 x 11 13/16 inches (40 x 30 cm)


PL . 81

Assembly Instructions (The Pledge: Simon Fujiwara), 2011 Framed inkjet ultrachrome archival print Detail from a set of 40 15 3/4 x 11 13/16 inches (40 x 30 cm) Page 14: Photo by Alexandre Singh Pages 90–93, 104–106, 140–141, 163–165: Various installation views at Sprueth Magers at Art Cologne, Cologne, April 2012 (Photographs by Mareike Trocha); Monitor Gallery, Rome, November 2011 (Photographs by Massimo Valicchia); Art: Concept, Paris, September 2011 (Photographs by Fabrice Gousse) Pages 100–102, 107, 114–116, 128, 129, 148–150, 162: Photographs by Cathy Carver


CONTRIBUTORS

Claire Gilman is Curator at The Drawing

Vincenzo Latronico is a writer and translator.

Center.

His novels, Ginnastica e rivoluzione (2008) and La cospirazione delle colombe (2011),

André Lepecki is Associate Professor in the

are published in Italy by Bompiani. He has

Department of Performance Studies, New

translated works by Max Beerbohm, Francis

York University. Author of Exhausting Dance:

Scott Fitzgerald, and Donald Barthelme; his

performance and the politics of movement

art writing has appeared in frieze, Flash Art,

(Routledge, 2006, translated into 7 languages)

and Corriere della Sera.

and editor of several anthologies on dance and performance theory including Planes of

Artist and writer Jill Magid seeks intimate

Composition: dance, theory and the global (with

relations with impersonal structures. Magid

Jen Joy, Seagull Books, 2009) and DANCE

is a graduate of Cornell University and

(Whitchapel/MIT Press, 2012). His work as an

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

independent curator includes chief curator of

2000–2002 artist-in-residence at the

the IN TRANSIT festival at Haus der Kulturen

Rijksakademie, and has had solo exhibitions

der Welt, Berlin (2008 and 2009 editions),

at Tate Modern; Whitney Museum of

and co-curator with Stephanie Rosenthal

American Art; Berkeley Museum of Art;

of the Digital Archive on Dance and Visual

Tate Liverpool; the Stedelijk Museum; Yvon

Arts since 1960s for the exhibition MOVE,

Lambert (Paris and New York); Gagosian

Hayward Gallery (2010). Recipient of the “Best

Gallery, New York; The Centre D’Arte Santa

Performance” Award 2008 from AICA-USA,

Monica, Barcelona; and Stroom, Netherlands.

for his co-curatorial and directorial work in

Magid is the author of four novellas and an

the authorized re-doing of Alan Kaprow’s 18

adjunct professor at Cooper Union. She lives

Happenings in 6 Acts.

and works in Brooklyn, NY.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Co-Chairs

Alexandre Singh: The Pledge is made possible in

Frances Beatty Adler

part by Etant donnĂŠs: The French-American Fund

Eric Rudin

for Contemporary Art and the Grand Marnier

Jane Dresner Sadaka

Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Zoe and Joel Dictrow.

Treasurer Stacey Goergen Secretary Dita Amory Brad Cloepfil Anita F. Contini Steven Holl Rhiannon Kubicka David Lang Merrill Mahan Iris Z. Marden Nancy Poses Pat Steir Barbara Toll Isabel Stainow Wilcox Candace Worth Emeritus Melva Bucksbaum Frances Dittmer Bruce W. Ferguson Michael Lynne George Negroponte Elizabeth Rohatyn Jeanne C. Thayer Executive Director Brett Littman


E D WA R D H A L L A M T U C K P U B L I C AT I O N P R O G R A M

This is number 102 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL&CO This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk. It was printed by JML Digital Printing in New York City.

L I B R A R Y O F C O N G R E S S C O N T R O L N U M B E R : 2 013 9 3 019 2 I S B N 9 7 8 - 0 - 9 4 2 3 24 -71- 6 Š 2 013 T H E D R AW I N G C E N T E R


T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 101 José Antonio Suárez Londoño: The Yearbooks Drawing Papers 100 Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios Drawing Papers 99 Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals Drawing Papers 98 Drawing and its Double: Selections from the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica Drawing Papers 97 Dr. Lakra Drawing Papers 96 Drawn from Photography Drawing Papers 95 Day Job Drawing Papers 94 Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway Drawing Papers 93 Claudia Wieser: Poems of the Right Angle Drawing Papers 92 Gerhard Richter: “Lines which do not exist” Drawing Papers 91 Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage Drawing Papers 90 Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? Drawing Papers 89 Selections Spring 2010: Sea Marks Drawing Papers 88 Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary Drawing Papers 87 Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World Drawing Papers 86 Unica Zurn: Dark Spring Drawing Papers 85 Sun Xun: Shock of Time Drawing Papers 84 Selections Spring 2009: Apparently Invisible Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


THE D R AWI N G CENTER

3 5 W O O S T E R S T R E E T | N E W YO R K , N Y 10 013 T 212 219 216 6 | F 8 8 8 3 8 0 3 3 6 2 | D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


Essays by Claire Gilman AndrĂŠ Lepecki Vincenzo Latronico Jill Magid

D R AW I N G PA P E R S 1 0 2

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The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers Volume 102 featuring an essay by exhibition curator Claire Gilman, three specially commissioned creative...

Alexandre Singh: The Pledge  

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