None the Wiser

Hessel Museum of Art, March 24 – May 26, 2013

Participants: Jessica Baran, Matt Mullican, Carlos Reyes, and John Smith 

None the Wiser brings together projects from the past four decades that rely on the candidness of subjects in the work’s production, and occasionally reception. In candid photography the subject is unaware of the camera and therefore not staged. A similar pursuit for chance and authenticity through unwitting persons is extended in the exhibition to include a broader scope of mediums and methods such as cinematography, hypnosis, sculpture, performative gestures, and poetry. The works in None the Wiser interact with candid subjects through durational processes. Be it within the suspended state of airport security screening, the suspended psyche of an entranced alter ego, or a narrative suspended in post production, the selected works use suspended spaces to deconstruct acts of representation.

In moments, fiction and reality become perceptively interchangeable, opening a space to reflect on the ways in which our realities are constructed through representation. As psychoanalysis suggests, subjectivity is dependent on fantasy, as desires are never achieved but rather constantly deferred through finding fulfillment in replacements. Similarly, language never arrives at meaning, rather, metaphor and metonymy expose a universal lack of stable signifiers. The unpredictable nature of candid subjects, paired with staged artistic gestures, punctures our perceived threshold between representation and reality.

Curated by Marie Heilich



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