press release

Junkies' Promises
27.06.2013 - 16.08.2013
Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Junkies’ Promises a group exhibition curated by gallery artist Iván Navarro, on view from 27 June – 16 August, 2013 at 293 Tenth Avenue and 515 27th Street in New York. The show is inspired by William S. Burroughs' 1953 novel, Junky, a semi-autobiographical fiction of a heroin addict and dealer in 50s New York. “I became fascinated by the way Burroughs fictionalizes survival as a junkie, especially with minimal economic resources and using improvised strategies to reach a goal,” Navarro said. “I realized that, metaphorically, this attitude is exactly the way many artists develop their work, at least the kind of industrious artists I am interested in. They find inventive ways to take possession of common objects and ideas and use them for their own purposes, on their own terms.” Junkies’ Promises explores works in photography, video and sculpture where light is both central theme and formal element. The show will feature works by He An, Stephen Dean, Dzine, RM Fischer, Victor Grippo, Nicolas Guagnini, Yuichi Higashionna, Alfredo Jaar, Deborah Kass, Jill Magid, Matthew McCaslin, Josiah McElheny, David Medalla, Arnaldo Morales, Iván Navarro & Tunde Adebimpe, Angel Nevarez & Valerie Tevere, Jorge Pardo, Alejandra Prieto, Pipilotti Rist, and Courtney Smith.

Not only does the show explore the force of literal energy, the electric power that infuses several of the works on view, but also even more abstract or undetected systems of power, domination and rule, like the subtle dynamic engendered by language, society or the built environment. As Navarro makes clear, “these artists share a fixation with the ordinary objects that surround human life, which simultaneously describe and determine social activity.”

From Courtney Smith’s illuminated sculptural work Immobile (from the series Insatiable Spaces) to the feminist quotation of sculptor Louise Bourgeois (“a woman has no place in the art world unless she proves over and over again that she won’t be eliminated”) in Deborah Kass’ After Louise Bourgeois, the textual confrontations of Alfredo Jaar’s Teach Us To Outgrow Our Madness, and He An’s He TaoYuan, to the translucent color of Stephen Dean’s tender sculpture Black Ladder, to the play of form and function in the illuminations of RM Fisher’s RMF-LT27 and Alejandra Prieto’s Lágrimas Negras—Navarro’s exhibition insists on how “light contaminates the surroundings and demands specific conditions for its manifestation. The focus of this project is to show how these pieces create a visual and conceptual tension between the volatile quality of light or electricity and the solid materials that convey it, how we live with light and electricity without noticing its abstract power.”