press release

Nostalgia Machines explores the intersection of nostalgia and technology in contemporary sculpture. Rather than the longing for specific lost moments of time, these artworks draw on aesthetic tropes associated with nostalgia. They capture abstract, often visceral registers of the sentiment, whether a sense memory (of rain, or of skin crawling), a personal history (moments of key decisions), or a “remembering” aesthetic (such as historical documentary).

The five artists presented here incorporate very simple machinery in works that evoke aspects of nostalgia. Each artist allows the mechanics of their sculpture to be visible, effecting an atmosphere of reflection or reminiscence, rather than the forward-looking quality associated with technology. Their texture—simple gears, wires—are key to the works’ evocative power. The markedly un-mysterious technology feels familiar, worthy of nostalgia for a time before the computer screen veiled its technology.

The Artists Meridith Pingree's work has earned critical praise and awards, including a SmackMellon fellowship and a Skowhegan residency. Pingree recently earned her MFA in sculpture at RISD. She has since exhibited extensively, particularly in New York. Her works for this exhibition have the distinct quality of a sense memory, of skin crawling, hairs standing on back of neck, and other visceral senses—abstracted, but somehow still familiar to the viewer.

Jasper Rigole is a Belgium-based artist who was featured in the 2010 Manifesta 8 Biennial in Spain, and has shown his work in exhibitions and film festivals throughout Europe. This will be his first appearance in the US. His work for this exhibition, OUTNUMBERED: a brief history of imposture gives a distinctly nostalgic first impression—it would seem to be a documentary about the olden days—but a mechanical storytelling machine reveals this to be false, and remind us that all “documentary” and representations of the past are constructed narratives.

Jonathan Schipper has exhibited widely in Europe and the U.S. His work often incorporates mechanical elements to explore metaphysical questions. Measuring Angst, his work for this exhibition, takes regret as its theme, with a machine that seems to keep trying to reverse time and repair what has been broken or relive the moment of the break. He is represented by Pierogi Gallery.

Gregory Witt was recently awarded “Emerging Artist of the Year” and a solo show by Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. His work garnered positive critical press in New York when he showed with his Skowhegan cohort in Brooklyn during summer, 2010. He recently earned his MFA from Carnegie Mellon. His work for this exhibition includes Packing Tape, a small robotic gesture that captures the sound of change—moving out, packing boxes—the moment when the present becomes the past.

Zimoun is a sound and installation artist based in Switzerland. He often multiplies a single motorized component to haunting audio and visual effect. He has exhibited and performed extensively worldwide since 2000. His work for this exhibition creates a sound much like falling rain. The sculpture is abstract, the rain has no narrative referent, but we associate it with scenes of loss—looking back—in film genres such as noir and melodrama, as well as in lyrics of popular music. He is represented by Bitforms Gallery.

The Guest Speaker Domenico Quaranta is an art critic and cuator. His previous publications include Gamescenes. Art in the Age of Videogames (2006, co-edited with Matteo Birranti) and Media, New Media, Postmedia (2010). He has curated various shows, including Holy Fire. Art of the Digital Age (2008, with Yves Bernard) and Playlist. Playing Games, Music, Art (2009-2010) He is the founding Director of the MINI Museum of XXI Century Arts.

The Curator Maya Allison is an independent curator of contemporary art. She recently departed as Curator at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, to relocate to Abu Dhabi, after a sojourn in Kunming, China this fall. Past curatorial positions include Director of the 5 Traverse Gallery (2009–2010) and Program Director of the annual new media showcase Pixilerations (2008, 2009). As Curatorial Assistant in Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum (2005–08), she curated Music Video/Silent Film: Innovations in the Moving Image, among other shows, and co-produced Wunderground: Providence 1995–2005. While at the Bell Gallery (2010–2011) she curated Alison Owen’s divisibility, the Faculty Triennial, and Among The Breakage: New Painting From Providence (co-curated with Neal Walsh).

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Nostalgia Machines
Kuratorin: Maya Allison

Künstler: Meridith Pingree, Jasper Rigole, Jonathan Schipper, Gregory Witt, Zimoun