The Poet-Engineers — at Miguel Abreu Gallery

The Poet-Engineers
Or how to deploy an artwork’s truth
procedure to contemplate its real effects
Miguel Abreu Gallery
88 Eldridge Street & 36 Orchard Street
June 9 — September 25, 2021
All images copyright and courtesy of the artist(s) and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.

Yuji Agematsu, American Artist, Nairy Baghramian, Dexter Sinister, Trisha Donnelly, Isa Genzken, Tishan Hsu, Pierre Huyghe, Flint Jamison, Jonathan Lasker, Sam Lewitt, Scott Lyall, Helen Marten, K.R.M. Mooney, Jean-Luc Moulène, Florian Pumhösl, R. H. Quaytman, Wacław Szpakowski, Cheyney Thompson

In a world increasingly described and experienced as regulated by immaterial forces – the digital revolution – there exists a discrete counter force, one fueled by what can be referred to as a renewed materiality.

A tripartite condition of opportunity for artists has been in place for some time, but now might be the moment for an exhibition to focus on how 1. new materials, 2. advanced software, and 3. innovative fabrication techniques constitute a rare point in history in which, taken together, the availability of radical new tools offers the ‘Poet-Engineers’ working today a compelling invitation to explore unknown content and invent new forms.

Poet: a person possessing special powers of imagination or expression.

Engineer: a skillful contriver or originator of something: the prime engineer of the approach.

– New Oxford American Dictionary

Etymology of Poësis: to make / produce / composition

Some consider the advent of 3D printing, for instance, to be as momentous of an invention as what photography proved to be in the 19th century. As this new technology appeared and threatened painting’s centuries-old dominance of the realm of representation and image production, it also unleashed a liberating force that allowed art’s regal medium to start concentrating on its constitutive elements, and to address them, for better or for worse, as subject matter. Today, the artist can make the fundamental decision to print a photographic image or file in either 2D or 3D.

Consider scanners, digital photography and printing, computer graphics, UV cured inks, silicone, aluminum alloys, new plastics, resins and rubbers, formal optimization software, robotics and CNC milling machines, laser technology, advanced construction materials, along with more traditional media and techniques such as drawing, painting, weaving, wood and stone carving, glass blowing, bronze casting – all are within reach of the artist working today.

Each work in the exhibition contains the ability to clearly reveal its articulation and constitute an adequate plastic solution to a more or less identifiable problem – the conceptual dimension – or comes across as generating and responding to its own inherent riddle. As we know, since Marcel Duchamp installed a urinal on a gallery wall over 100 years ago and called it art, a contemporary art object must be, at best, the material embodiment of an idea, whatever the idea might be. An idea, for instance, might emerge from considering and questioning the status of a given material or technique.

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