Saturday, September 17, 2011

What Dreams May Come Again?

"Sometimes when I’m looking at Sean Duffy’s work, I get the weird feeling that I’m eavesdropping on somebody’s near-death hallucination – or even their trip through the Bardos to whatever’s beyond that great white light. It isn’t that the sculptures, paintings, installations, etc. Duffy has created over the last two decades are morbid – or particularly spiritual.

But imagine you’re walking through the Mall, and you start to notice that all the items on display are a little strange – a music store displays only a couple of old-school vinyl obscurities, in huge quantities. The furniture emporium contains weirdly mutated iconic Modernist design at one end, and generic office decor repurposed into some kind of post-apocalyptic zen garden at the other, with a bunch of weird-ass lamps made from castoff electric fans and plastic gascans in between.

The home entertainment big box is chockfull of perversely customized equipment from that parallel universe where John Cage’s multiple- turntable audio collage chance compositions topped the charts. And don’t get me started on the Auto Zone! The point is, everything is a little off, sometimes way way off. But it isn’t random – each distortion has the distinctive stamp of being related to a specific person, like in a Philip K. Dick story where supposedly benign fragments of objective reality start turning into explicit personal messages. Only the messages aren’t for you. They’re for Sean Duffy.

And they’re from Sean Duffy. But are they the same guy? One of the most compelling aspects of Duffy’s oeuvre is the fact that it straddles the two personae that every artist has to reconcile – the inward-looking, self-reflexive, isolated human consciousness that comes up with the goods, and the outward-facing, collectively mediated social animal that puts them on display. And although this whole Personalized-Shopping-Mall-of-the-Damned scenario sounds a little solipsistic, anyone who’s seen Duffy’s work can attest to its genuine popular appeal..."

Read the rest of What Dreams May Come Again? Sean Duffy’s Consumer Paradise by coming to the Book Release Party and Recerd Player Tordimint TONIGHT and buying a copy of the copiously illustrated volume. Free Tee-shirt with first 20 signings!

Saturday, September 17, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
6006 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, California 90232

Image: Sean Duffy Beam Down 1998 Fun fur and clear upholstery vinyl on panel
Click here to read my review of "teach me to love" Sean Duffy's 1998 debut at Deep River gallery.

No comments: