Jason Dodge, review by Christina Degethof
Four rooms to walk through and five new works to discover. The Berlin-based American artist Jason Dodge (*1969) invites us into a direct encounter with twin copper pipes, partly coming out of floor tiles; two sets of satellite dishes, arranged in different rooms in relation to purple cushions; four organ pipes, shiny and preciously placed on various arrangements of coloured blankets; a hand-woven basket, attached to a hidden bell and three pairs of two different light bulbs, placed close to walls and at human height. Some of the works are presented in a double or triple set up, like repeated notes in a balanced composition.
The objects are minimalist in their outlook. Their textures blend well with the gallery’s terracotta tiles and wooden benches while, silently, they also create contrasts as different cultural objects are stripped bare of their context of utility. In their showcase-like positioning, the objects remain powerful in a twofold way by breaking through the fabric of the building and retaining an abstract relation to the outside environment.
It is not spelled out explicitly, but Jason Dodge is interested in the creative process. The final piece to this puzzle of thought and object is the spectator. The human tendency to develop relationships not only with other human beings but also with surrounding objects often goes unnoticed as we live, work, look and think. Dodge developed a simple but, once noticed, intriguing method of artistic production in order to find visual expressions to our lost, blurred or rarely fully registered relationships with objects. He does so in a dual way, revealing the very diversity of human thought while relying on the various subjective levels of attachment. In relation to this, every spectator’s reaction to the objects, and the exhibition at large, will be influenced by personal experiences and a subjective value.
Some objects may carry the conceptual feeling that Dodge did not make them himself. The addition of specific titles to specific, but ordinary looking, objects functions as a signpost to another level of perception that Dodge has in mind. The artist is the master weaver of a web that suggests we link copper pipes to vapors, satellite dishes to altitude and acrobats, blankets to the visual quality of water locations, light and holes, and a basket to a signal bell. After a first examination of the different media presented and their inherent aesthetics, the objects take position in a net of associations that range from global water topography to different heights in space, from non visual gas to missing sound. The titles that Dodge used for these new five works make use of the ambiguous dimension of poetic language in a dialogue with art. Objects are real in front of our eyes, language is reflected towards imagination and thoughts are silently produced. It is an interesting exhibition with unique subjective rewards and well-placed hints towards the larger urban landscape of Berlin.