Up The Wall, a new exhibition by Guy Zagursky, was born out of the pragmatic need to hang sculptures on the wall to clear the studio floor. The need to climb up the walls was a result of a physical necessity which soon became a transposition, an almost complete change in thinking of space, or if you like an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Nothing should touch the floor anymore. Except for a very few exceptions, everything climbed up the walls. This is a sculptural installation disguised as a painting exhibition that is intended be experienced as a visual operetta.
An experience that invites the viewer to wander among dozens of colourful carvings, figurines, and texts that have been put together into a spectacular conceptual collage, which at the same time is largely decadent.
Eight modules are placed in the space and resemble an abstraction of room walls. Bed, lintel, window, door. On them hangs the bulk of the artworks like musical boxes meant to be “listened to” like ambiance music. These boxes act as the base units of the exhibition and function both as independent sculptures and large scale racks for various ideograms to hang on.
Each one of the floating wall modules represents an independent assertion with its own disposition. The placement of each unit, relative to the others, allows the entire space to be experienced as one composition.
The boxes shift on the manipulated diapason ranging between comical notes through to an expressive staccato in an (of course unsuccessful) attempt to indicate transcendent truths. The result is deliberately easy to “listen to” and almost always pleasing.
As with the embroidery works on iron, the asynchronicity between the triviality of the subject matter and the extent of work and skills required to produce the piece is salient. Zagursky’s characteristic playfulness in the use of remnants of living materials is expressed here in its carnival form.
In the sense of complete abolition of hierarchies, the artist undermines the balance of power between the various elements in space. In other words, Zagursky does away with the relative “importance” the viewer’s subconsciously assigns to one element vs. another. Sculpture-painting, high-low, local-universal, serious-humorous, finished-unfinished. The grave and solemn become cartoons and caricatures, and a simplistic remark is engraved and constituted in rough material. It may appear that the materiality is the substance at its entirety in the exhibition, however the conceptual approach is conveyed in the composition of all the images together. A composition which is admittedly inspired by improvised jazz music.
Zagursky throws away the traditional technique of hierarchical proportion by giving the mundane, the banal, and the invisible the centre stage. Unlike Duchamp who adamantly asserted that he wanted to “de-deify” the artist through his use of readymade objects, Zagursky glorifies the object and the craft at the expense of the subject.
In his mischievous ways, Zagursky dares us to reflect on our relationship with art and how we wish to perceive it.He plays with material in a way a Jazz musician plays his instrument. He challenges the viewer to move away from the materials he uses, his skills, and craftsmanship through a conceptual expression of the whole akin a composition inspired by a freely improvised jazz melody. Zagursky’s exhibition insists on remaining devoid of a clear ideological backbone other than the principled decision to produce an associative sequence open to interpretation and visually delightful.