Artist: Josh Tonsfeldt
Venue: VidalCuglietta, Brussels
Date: May 27 – July 12, 2013
Full gallery of images, video, press release and link available after the jump.
Untitled, 2013. 2:00 excerpt, 4:34 full length. HD Video.
Images courtesy of VidalCuglietta, Brussels
This exhibition was conceived simultaneously with one that opened in New York at Simon Preston on April 24th.
A text from Chris Fite-Wassilak:
At a real distance from the pleasantries of reverie is our simply nomadic condition; a nexus for which ‘home’ is just an absent abstraction, much less a state of mind or physical place. We do not wander by choice so much as by the fact of chance. Through this network, space is an unstable accumulation of disparate coordinates and timelines—unsettled, shadowed, bitten by the wind.
The works of Josh Tonsfeldt bear the tone of transmissions and remnants of such accumulations. His sculptures, prints, and videos are uneasy testimonies of place, recounted with the restless glance in the rearview mirror. The attempts of the photographer to capture a moment and a place in an image could be seen as a starting point for his work. That the attempt almost automatically places the photographer at a distance, the image itself becoming a frozen, only partial glimpse, lets these failures provide the parameters to ask why we might look for such essences in the first place. His most recent body of work moves between three discrete rooms, from the idiosyncrasies of two art spaces in Brussels and New York City, to a house in the plains of Iowa. Asking us to slip silently between them, swapping objects, echoes and edifices, Tonsfeldt casts each place as a ghost of the other, a palimpsest of memories and possibi- lities. Imprints, stains, and shadows provide glimpses of moments, halted trajectories on a confused compass. A chair and a table occupy all three places at once: salvaged from the farm, each split in half like an expectant DNA-like ladder waiting to form a new corresponding whole that might occupy their haunted counterparts.
It is this correspondence between dislocated points, of indirectly mapping the genes of experience and their unexpected, dispersed offspring, that are found throughout Tonsfeldt’s work. In his untitled video he returns to the farm, walking around it in a new-falling snow; but mediating this return is the camera itself, the startling whirr of its automatic focus clicking us back to our current place, watching the video in the gallery. In this movement, between the refocusing plains and our viewing stance, Tonsfeldt traces the remaining connections and poignant coexistence of places where we might temporarily place our- selves and unravel outwards. Where, as the narrator of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil (1983) puts it, “the memory of a precise color in the street bounces back on another country, another distance, another music, endlessly.”