Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Gary Hill, in which he masterfully incorporates aspects of installation, sound, and imagery to create poetic and thought-provoking pieces teasing out the nuances of communicative interactions. His continued investigations into the intersection between representation and language have created a body of video installations that question and reinterpret the cognitive processes that create meaning. For this exhibition, Hill will present two new works commissioned and previously shown by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Their New York debut will mark Gary Hill’s fourth show at Gladstone Gallery.
Representations of the body factor heavily into Hill’s weighty investigations, which incorporate extrapolations of social roles in order to examine the current political climate. In a recent piece Guilt, Hill has created gold coins minted with his own portrait, undergoing fictive scenes of torture. Viewed from afar through telescopes, recognizing the artist’s face on these miniatures at once brings the impact of humiliation into the viewer’s frame of mind, highlighting, through its installation, the uneasiness of the dominate/subordinate dialectical posture so often assumed in everyday life. Hill queries the existence of a stance of viewership in which the dominant position does not come into play. In light of the images of Abu Ghraib having been seared into the common memory, what does the telescopic view of suffering achieve, if only to vouchsafe a position of domination within communicative forms? Hill’s installation, through its use of the metaphor of market exchange, distances the true impact of brutality, even when the acts of surveillance bring it so close to the viewer’s body. Using the homophone that brings to mind both shame and the gilt surface of the coin, the carefully fabricated mock currency allows for the reification of both the economic influence, as well as the psychic repercussions.
In Frustrum a bar of gold bullion sits in a shallow pool of oil as an animated eagle brutally slaps its wings around a transmission tower. Hill recorded the sound of bullwhips cracking to punctuate the violent movement of the eagle’s wings, bringing a critical edge to this de facto emblem of American occupation in the Middle East. His continued use of gold further emphasizes the conflation of monetary interest and military motivation with oil being the intermediary element. Atop the floating bar of gold, the motto “For everything which is visible is a copy of that which is hidden” is embossed, its cryptic message seeming to relate that for all the political jargon surrounding the invasion of Iraq, the hidden and twinned motivation is the economic profit of oil. Hill’s insistence on bringing forth the conflation of gold and oil, politics and violence seemingly rebuilds the codes of communication surrounding recent global events, in effect reworking the accepted signs proffered by the state to reinstitute a construction of meaning meant to reveal hidden political machinations.
Gary Hill was born in 1951 in California and currently lives and works in Seattle. In addition to his recent show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Hill has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and projects, including his 2005 projection onto the ruins of the Coliseum in Rome; a traveling survey organized by the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany in 1999; and an exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1995. His work has been included in the Whitney Biennial in 1983, and the Venice Biennales in 1984 and 1999. In 2003 he won the Skowhegan Medal for Video Installation.
“Gary Hill” is on view at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, through February 4, 2007.