Currently on view at D+T Project Gallery in Brussels is ‘The Object of a Movement : Is Music the Essence of Words’,’ a solo show by the Spanish artist Elena Bajo. Through the years Bajo has built up a reputation of working site-specifically, and this time is no different. The pieces on display are actually interventions, thoughtfully examining the supposed autonomy of the gallery space.
The second part of the exhibition title refers to the centrepiece around which the artist started improvising the other works. It consists of multiple frames, precariously attached to each other by pieces of tape and arranged to form an ephemeral, sculptural configuration. The canvases themselves are removed, leaving only a few traces available to the viewer, as a faint memory of the images former presence. We are left with the remainder or excess of the work itself, with what had always been lurking in the margin, the flipside of the image, its residue, so to speak. In a small corner of the gallery space, a lost-and-found Kodak slide projector is doing its mechanical duty, steadily rotating a carousel with decayed slides, presenting time’s own abstract compositions.
As an artist, Elena Bajo seems to be interested in the latent movement of self-effacement in artistic production, the tacit violence involved in each single act of framing. Exactly how are we expected to see what is there to be seen’ What do we call an image, and how is this judgment formed’ This critical preoccupation is also apparent in other works included in the exhibition, consisting of reclaimed materials found on the flea market or in the trash bins of art schools: used cutting boards, leftover paper and cardboard pieces, glass, etc. By putting these trouvailles on display, Bajo reuses the readymade object as a deconstructive tool to question and reconfigure the way meaning is being produced. As the title of the exhibition indicates, the entire work is deeply engaged with the way in which objects become part of larger semiotic movements, value systems and economies. Recognising this performative dimension is important if we are to grasp this show’s relevance. Constantly challenging its own boundaries, the language of Elena Bajo’s work is that of a careful stuttering, the deferring promise of what is always still to come.
Bajo is a Spanish artist who lives and works in Berlin and New York. Most recently her work was shown in Woodmill, London (2010), La Salle de Bains, Lyon (2010), Galeria Umberto di Marino, Naples (2010) and White Columns, New York (2009).
D+T Project Gallery in Brussels is a brand new venue run by artist Sebastien Delire and art historian Grégory Thirion. Rather than just assembling pre-existing works, they try to conceive of each show in terms of an intense collaboration with the artist. Most of the artworks are commissioned, and the artist is generously provided with the time necessary to prepare and produce the work. Accompanied by a special artist publication, each show looks more like a statement than a mere presentation.