After Reasonable Research
Until February 26, 2011
Printed Matter – 195 Tenth Avenue – New York
After Reasonable Research is an exhibition of artists’ books and related material exploring the encyclopedic form.
After Reasonable Research forms a radical reference library with an interest in accumulated knowledge. The collected books explore systems of classification, asking how information can be parsed and accommodated into expressive formats that describe content as much as deliver it. Images and text are exhaustively compiled (a number of the works span multiple volumes), often accompanied by charts, lists, annotations and appendices. Some act as compendiums—a working index to a field of knowledge—but all stand as artworks awash with imprecision, personal narrative, rigorous and semi-rigorous research, fiction, and all the compulsions that make these encyclopedias, in a sense, factual.
In Parallel Encyclopedia Batia Suter has created an encompassing work with images from old encyclopedias and scientific manuals, sequencing thousands of photos according to a shifting resemblance of form. Josh Smith’s 28-volume Untitled (Encyclopedia) compiles an eccentric mix of photocopies, newspaper clippings, cut-down Yellow Pages and office-supply catalogs, resulting in the idea of an encyclopedia as filtered through the artist’s hand. Sol LeWitt’s photos in Autobiography—square format and arranged in a grid—represent an attempt to document every possession in the artist’s New York living and studio space. James Bridle’s 12-volume The Iraq War: A Historiography of Wikipedia Changelogs charts the complete edits (12,000 of them) made to the Wikipedia entry on the Iraq War between 2006-2009.
Each work in After Reasonable Research presents a way for reading a system, a codex that can be overlaid so that new links and likenesses start to emerge. While short of a scientific record, the books commit to their own kind of truth. The extravagant gesture of the encyclopedic form conveys a particular kind of beauty, dealing at its core with how information, people and forms relate in extraordinary ways.
After Reasonable Research includes artists’ books by Fiona Banner, Fredéric Bruly Bouabré, James Bridle, David Bunn, Anna Callahan, Larry Clark, Claude Closky, Hanne Darboven, Anita Di Bianco, Hans Eykelboom, Hans Peter Feldmann, Geoffrey Hendricks, Henry James Korn, Richard Kostelanetz, Rob Kovitz, Miranda Maher, HJ Mayer, Scott McCarney, Olaf Nicolai, Parasitic Ventures Press, Gerhard Richter, Dieter Roth, Josh Smith, Daniel Spoerri, Batia Suter, Mungo Thomson, David Thorne and Peter Wegner.
by Batia Suter
double page from the book
by Sol LeWitt