zero, ground





Opening reception, Saturday May 26. Artist talk by Beate Terfloth 2:00 pm, reception to follow, 3:00 - 5:00 pm.

Tara Donovan, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Amber Frid-Jimenez, Rodney Graham, Antonia Hirsch, Denzil Hurley, Philipp Lachenmann, Myfanwy MacLeod, Damian Moppett, Bettina Pousttchi, Kathy Slade, Beate Terfloth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.
zero, ground, looks at art works that engage darkness and its potential. Taking inspiration for its title from 0, 10 The Last Futurist Exhibition, this project considers the impact of formal negation as a device since the obliterating effect of Malevich’s Black Square, 1915.

0,10 was the first exhibition of Suprematism, with its entirely non-figurative compositions. Through this numeric title, the participants envisioned a new future, stating that with their old order now dissolved a new zero could begin, starting over from nothing. This critical ground declared a new role for art, free from the proscription of representation, the radical negation of Malevich’s Suprematism incorporating abstract form as a mode for the investigation of contemporary life. This radical antithesis was echoed forty years later, when zero was again claimed to name another new start in socially cathartic picture making. Based in monochromatic annihilation, artists Heinz Mack and Otto Piene organized exhibitions and publications under the moniker ‘ZERO’. Their avant-gardist ambitions reached out across the continent to find monochrome convergences in Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni. Their interests reverberated across the globe with the work of the Nouveau Realists, Arte Povera, Gutai, Minimalism, and Venezuelan Op art.

This exhibition gathers work that feels the monotone force of this international tendency, since these modernist beginnings, and focuses on artists who have utilized monochromatic abstraction as a form of insurrection: a descriptive force that obfuscates and negates as a means through which they frame sites of social discontent. zero, ground identifies and considers image making that resonates Malevich’s profound obfuscation as a way behind the veil, beyond the accepted real, and identifying high contrast as an artifice which may blur distinctions of figure and image to create a visual understanding of things as more than what they seem.

Bringing together a range of works that utilize this modernist method for contemporary subjects, the exhibition will also provide a discursive platform for investigating this formal proclivity and its recurrence. Through reading groups, artist talks and presentations, the exhibition will provide an active component, from various contemporary critical perspectives, to evolve discursive explorations of these individual artist’s worldviews. In this way zero, ground seeks to be a research site that will accumulate scholarship through the duration of the exhibition project which will be compiled in an accompanying digital resource, available free to the public through our website.

Amber Frid-Jimenez, Burning ballet mécanique, 2018, video still, Courtesy of the artist.