"A Lost and Found"
May 1st - July 31st, 2009
"A Lost and Found" is the first in a series of displays which explore themes relating to the library and its collections and practices. Turning to a particularly inconspicuous collection - the library's lost and found, artist Joshua Callaghan has created an archive of objects made entirely of wood and wire and based on pure conjecture. When denied access to the actual lost & found the artist embraced the speculative, generating a playful anthropological display of banal technological contrivances and personal effects.
What's lost, then, is not only "found" by the artist but recreated as pure object, neutral stand-ins for what may or may not exist. By rendering these items in wood they are given new substance and materiality but are stripped of their original use value - the cord does not generate electricity, the pen no longer writes, the iPod will never play. In lieu of functionality these pieces remain static and on display. They present gestures. Shapes and outlines are vague, details are added selectively and objects appear as generic suggestions rather than precise representations. This formal ambiguity places the viewer at the center of a unique process of identification - a kind of visual "lost and found," activated by the object's abstraction.
Callaghan's work also creates a distinct relationship between object and container. The crude materiality of wood surfaces, soft corners and blunt tips seems to beg for physical contact yet these objects cannot be touched, only seen. In this sense the glass vitrine functions as both frame and obstruction displacing expectations of the case's transparency and questioning the roles of presentation and display.
Joshua Callaghan (b. 1969, Doylestown, PA) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including Haas & Fischer Gallery, Zurich, Bank Gallery, Los Angeles, Galleria Fortes Vilaca, Sao Paulo, the UC Riverside Sweeney Gallery, the Guggenheim Gallery of Chapman University, and LA Louver in Los Angeles. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Grant and holds a MFA in New Genres from UCLA.