Poste Restante

Conversation with Gareth James and Eric Fredericksen – Saturday, May 21, 2pm

What are the outcomes of an exhibition that “refuses to deliver”? Gareth James, in conversation with curator Eric Fredericksen, will examine ideas of refusal, denial, and the strategies of exhibition-making. What is the status of the object within current art practices? How does this relate to recent texts on the sociology of objects, such as “The Berlin Key: Or How to Do Words with Things,” by Bruno Latour? What are our expectations for exhibitions, and what do we expect in return? What does this reveal about the mechanisms of exhibition production and institutional communication? What is the role of the curator in an exhibition of this nature? What is being withheld, and is it of relevance?

Gareth James is an internationally exhibited artist, previously based in London and New York. He is currently an Assistant Professor at The University of British Columbia. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, including Portikus (Frankfurt), Kunstwerke (Berlin), The Institute of Contemporary Art (London), PS1 Center for Contemporary Art and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). He has had recent solo exhibitions at Galerie Christian Nagel, Köln; Franco Soffiantino Arte Contemporanea, Torino; and Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.

Eric Fredericksen is a curator and writer, and director of Western Bridge, Seattle. He has curated shows in Vancouver at Artspeak, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Or Gallery, and the Bodgers’ and Kludgers’ Co-operative Art Parlour. His writing has appeared in Fillip, Metropolis, Architecture, Nest, and The Stranger. He has taught at the University of Washington and the Sommerakademie, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Poste Restante
April 9 – May 28, 2011

Jason Dodge (Berlin), Hadley+Maxwell (Berlin), Allison Hrabluik (Vancouver), Aaron Flint Jamison (Portland), Sam Lewitt (New York), Heather and Ivan Morison (Brighton, UK), Avigail Moss (Maastricht, NL), Pamela Rosenkranz (Amsterdam/Zurich), Dexter Sinister (New York/Los Angeles), Matt Sheridan Smith (New York), Oscar Tuazon (Paris)

Presenting the work of eleven artists and collaborators, this exhibition refuses to deliver. It offers artworks sent via national postal systems addressed to the gallery as “Poste Restante”. Typically relied upon by travelers and lovers, “Poste Restante” is a request for a post office to hold a letter or package until picked up by its recipient. The works are exhibited as received, in unopened envelopes or parcels, accompanied by any paperwork generated during transit, including customs forms, bills of lading, and pro forma invoices. Delivery is deferred as the packages wait, held by the gallery for a recipient whose identity is unknown.

Objects are shaped by various encounters with systems of commerce, information, publicity and transportation. Stubbornly resistant to dematerialization, the art object remains local, specific and visible only in certain spaces, while operating in far-flung networks, both physical and immaterial. Guarantors of the exhibition as an exhibition, the art objects in Poste Restante serve as ground for exchanges of immaterial services, writings, and conversations. Through the suspension of delivery we remove the object-in-itself from scrutiny and see in clearer relief the systems the object both calls to life and circulates within.

The exhibition will travel to further destinations, including both commercial galleries and non-profit spaces, marking out a geographical network of communication and interests analogous to those of the participating artists and organizations. Parallel events, including talks, performances, and publications, will accompany the exhibition at each location.

Image: Poste Restante installation, 2011 Photo: Blaine Campbell

233 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2J2 Canada
Tel. 604.688.0051
Fax 604.685.1912
Tuesday – Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission is free