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Yozo Suzuki
at Linda Durham Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Preview by Alex Ross

Fascinated with the logic of time, Yozo Suzuki, his new installation calls to mind a guillotine on wood blocks from which photo-transfers are suspended.

The art of Yozo Suzuki communicates a rapt fascination with the logic of time. Over the course of his past exhibitions this focus has been filtered through an examination of photography’s discontinuous relation to the real. He subjects a broad array of current and classical source imagery to processes that merge the visual asperities of inkjet photo-transfers and the archaic allure of gold and silver leaf.

Challenging the integrity of the photograph as an archive of identity, his hybridizing technique alludes to both contemporary manufacture and traditional craftsmanship. These strategies underline the multiple mediations to which he subjects  images in order to undercut the reflexive assumption in most viewers that today’s easily accessed visual information is some form virtual readymade. Stressing the ambiguity of temporal locations, the objects depicted may be at once older and newer than they appear.

A significant departure from his customary working practice, “Gambit: An Opening Move” is fraught with the risks suggested by its title. Describing his latest installation-based exhibition as “a study in tautologies” and “a static depiction of the movement of time,” Suzuki has signaled a commitment to exploring simultaneity and seriality in a mode recalling the ontological investigations of Joseph Kosuth. Looking like a guillotine-cum-Rube Goldberg machine set atop roughly-hewn wooden blocks, “Gambit” bridges the gap between Sterling Ruby’s famously ominous “Pig Pen” (2009), and William Cordova’s architectural deconstruction, “The House that Frank Lloyd Wright Built” (2006). The show’s cynosure blurs the divide between static and kinetic sculpture. Contributing to the complication of that perimeter, and in place of actualizing its potentially gravity-fed movement (which is curtailed by the intricacy and fragility of its machinery), the artist offers a dizzying array of schematics and videos. They function as competing iterations proposing the central device’s latent abilities, and can also be viewed as blueprints for objects still unformed.

In all photo-transfers printed on the planar surfaces of the “guillotines” as well as sheets of translucent acrylic suspended throughout the gallery, images of vises in varied states of closure and aperture communicate a pervasive tension between supported and restricted motion. Videos are displayed as discrete objects within wooden housings propped atop pedestals and underpinned by crates. Suzuki’s investigation of support is reinforced by totemic structures that indicate a hierarchy of relationships. Distance from bodily engagement is commensurate with increases in height. The force of gravity mediates between actual site and represented sign. Exploiting gaps between illustration and experience while conflating sculpture, video, printing, and installation, “Gambit: An Opening Move” offers, not one, but many risks worth taking.

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