Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda: The Basic Material

November 16–December 15, 2013

MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present The Basic Material, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda’s first solo exhibition in New York.

Parallel to this year’s exhibition program at Ludlow 38, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda wrote the screenplay for The Sixth Year, a video series produced by Ludlow 38 set in the New York art world. Though undoubtedly a work of fiction, the screenplay is based on recorded interviews with artists, gallerists, advisors, and curators, each offering their own opinions, anecdotes, and gossip. The interviews include stories about social and professional coups, tragic downfalls, quick hirings and subsequent dismissals. They contain thoughts about what, in specific situations, should have been said or done, and pronouncements deemed true but too cruel to be made publicly. One hears of jeopardized endowments. Of torn glycine wrap on paintings. Of threesomes. Of active bidders, phone on phone.

Whether out of professional discretion, good manners, or good taste—or because the conversations were held in the aftermath of a wave of gossip-based art: tattle blogs, personal emails turned into paintings or videos, friendships worked out in 18-page press releases—the interviews also inevitably contain a segment in which the subjects insist on their anonymity, asking that their names as well as the names they mention be deleted. In one interview, an otherwise forthright subject becomes cautious, speaking of being “on the record.” “I don’t name names,” one interviewee states. He is echoed by another: “But I can’t name names, I can’t, I can’t, I really can’t.” And another: “See, I’m using names, but you’re not gonna use these names. I won’t be named. The innocent will be protected, right?” Seen as a whole, the wariness and apprehension of these statements isn’t the exception but, by a long margin, the norm.

Remove the names, however, and the story changes completely. In a milieu which equates knowledge—be it sensitive information or a delicate reputation—with currency, The Basic Material represents the transformation of this knowledge’s value by rendering its content into fiction. What was perceived as laden with consequence becomes meaningless, benign, inert.

Jay Chung (*1976, Madison, WI) and Q Takeki Maeda (*1977, Nagoya, Japan) currently live and work in Los Angeles, where they teach at the Art Center College of Design. They have been working collectively since 2001. Recent solo shows include Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda at REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); The Teeth of the Gears at Cabinet Gallery, London (2011); When Buffeted (Toter Winkel) at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin (2010); Outtakes and Excerpts at House of Gaga, Mexico City (2009); and Hardy Boys and Gilmore Girls at Cubitt Gallery, London (2008), and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2006).

Curated by Jakob Schillinger