For his exhibition at Midway Contemporary Art, Brussels-based artist David Catherall has constructed new walls using the peripheral dimensions of the building, allowing Midway to re-enter itself. Using the architectural scale of 1:1, the space of the research library, administrative office, and hallway have been inserted back into the main gallery as an installation of sheetrock walls. Fluorescent tube lighting has been added to the pre-existing halogen spots, eclipsing the original temperature and atmosphere of the space. The condition of accuracy invokes the idea of the show as a model of itself at a 1:1 scale.
Throughout the passage of new and replicated space in the gallery, works circulate along lines of import and export, while simultaneously documenting and presenting themselves. A new series of 4-colour CMYK silkscreen prints on German paper reproducing American Kent III cigarette advertisements is wall- mounted in plexiglas vitrines, the paper curving in the frames. Shipping boxes covered in bookbinders’ buckram fabric showcase porcelain sculptures and multiples: objects which have unpacked themselves. This includes a porcelain ‘Monchichi’ doll and heads shrunk 18% through the firing process, and cylindrical unglazed porcelain rods whose ends have been dipped in paint left over from building the walls.
Objects and images from Catherall’s past exhibitions are also re-introduced: a previous KENT III (2007) silkscreen print, a pigment/colour swatch produced by the brick dust from the inside of the walls of the 1928 Victor Horta-designed Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles, and a prototype designed by the artist of a custom metal door handle created for a 2011 exhibition in the same venue. Two silhouettes in the shape of the door handle have been cut out from carpet on the gallery floor left over from Midway’s most recent exhibition, as measurements of conflict in spatial discrepancies of the wall installation. They have been scaled to 4000% and 1800% of the original prototype dimensions.
Reproduction is a thread that runs continuously throughout the exhibition, in the form of silk-screen printing, wall building, multiples, or the translation of one thing into another. During the course of the exhibition, some pieces will be photographed using the paper cyclorama J| as a backdrop. J| also forms its own documentation – a record of the dimensions of the wall to which it is attached.
Problematic areas – those where the dimensions of overlaid spaces overlap or refuse to conform to the available dimensions of the gallery – are addressed through a corporate-style campaign of imposing logos, colour, and scale onto the space. In that sense, institutional procedure is also enacted upon itself through a brand of the relational.
Special thanks to Tetsuya Yamada, Daedra Culshaw, Frank Haehnel, and the University of Minnesota Department of Art for production assistance. Thanks also to Bernhard Schreiner, Paymen Rahimi, Peet Fetsch, Pieter D’Haeseleer, Simon Thompson, and Pernille Kapper Williams.
Support for the Midway Contemporary Art Artist and Curatorial lecture series is generously provided by The National Endowment for the Arts.