ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum is pleased to announce the opening of the first solo exhibition in Italy by artist Oliver Laric (Innsbruck, 1981).
Laric’s research has always moved in the expanded field of visual culture and its complex relationship to the internet, a research he does by investigating the effects of distribution over the field of production.
Working mainly in the media of sculpture and video, his practice addresses questions concerning how images are appropriated, interpreted, translated and re-circulated in a number of possible versions or iterations.
His interest in iconic images, which he extracts from contemporary culture and mythology alike, derives from an attentiveness to the creation and fluctuation of their value and power; a value no longer determined by any uniqueness or truth in the images themselves, but by the collective and often anonymous dynamics that, through distribution, transform them into icons.
In this exhibition at ar/ge kunst Laric’s research develops in two complementary directions. These consider anthropomorphism, shape-shifting and forms of hybridization as ways of exploring the relationship of reciprocity and continuity between the human figure and other agents, be they animals or objects; a subject spanning religion, science, folklore, popular and sub-cultures.
A new version of the Hunter and His Dog (2014) is presented as a series of bas-reliefs: three copies of the same sculpture by John Gibson (1838), 3D-scanned and hand-cast by Laric himself. The choice of this particular subject, an everyday scene in which Gibson portrayed a boy holding his dog by its collar, derives meaning from its mode of representation, which sets the human figure in a dualistic relationship with the dog. While Laric takes the white marble of Gibson’s detailed neoclassical sculpture as his starting point, he employs a different technique and a different material so as to transform the relationship between the two figures. The man’s former control over the dog becomes a continuity between two bodies, two subjectivities.
In his new video Laric further questions this dualistic system of categories (human–animal, human–object, man–woman…), exploring the notion of metamorphosis through a selection of scenes from illustrations and animations from the nineteenth century to the present. As with the sculpture, he chose not to work with the original material and instead commissioned three illustrators to redraw fragments and imagery from Russia, America, Japan and other countries known for their animated films. This act of redrawing isolates, from the original context, the process of shape-shifting so as to visualise the intermediate state of a character’s transformation from one recognisable form to another, a state existing somewhere in-between classifiable states. Laric actively perpetuates this continuous state of ‘becoming’ as a desirable condition that produces a whole range of hybrid subjects freely moving across gender and identities.
In Coproduction with
New Museum Triennial, New York
Tanya Leighton, Berlin
With the kind support of
Provincia Autonoma del Sudtirolo, Ripartizione Cultura
Comune di Bolzano, Ripartizione Cultura
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio, Bolzano
IFA – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V
Land Tirol – Abteilung Kultur
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Frauen, Vienna
Austrian Cultural Forum in Milano