Pasting up, coloring in; waging imaginary wars: these are some
of the childhood activities borrowed by the artists in Ritalin.
Simple gestures and boyish games seep through their practice as
creative processes, story-telling or as found objects, assuming
child-like innocence, while revealing untamed instincts. An airplane
model crashes, a papier-mâché asteroid explodes and
two GI Joe dolls are caught in a compromising battling position.
Children imagery, Nineteenth Century engravings details and scientific
models, all speaking in borrowed quotations, are carefully spliced
together to form intricate image-sentences in O!, Jess's
first book of "Paste-ups". In a process that the artist called
"atomic sequencing", every element of the collage tells endless
stories of imaginary worlds.
The twisted universe of Ritalin often has an uncanny relationship
to our "gentleman's" world. In Joe Sola's latest performance,
documented here, the artist escapes the curator's attentive gaze
by throwing himself through his studio window, a leap into the
void that evokes the stunt drama of Hollywood movies. The disconcertment
of Sola's visitor is left to our imagination, and so is the awkwardness
of the moment preceding the dive, when the artist stood restless,
as one is prior to singing a Christmas Carol.
In Untitled (2003), Carlos Huffmann uses presentation
and display methods to freeze the launch of an airborne missile;
a toy of course, but the trail of smoke that follows the rocket,
and merges into the white gallery wall, moves the set from the
result of playful imagination closer to that of scientific modeling.
The boys' toys that make up such scenarios of disaster also lead
to an exploration of masculinity. In Male Art: Acrylic on Found
Mail (2004), Case Calkins covered the pages of an adult mail
order catalogue with child-like drawings and doodles. A naïve
landscape conceals most of the pornographic material, while a
few areas are left blank, revealing glimpses of one's secret fascination
and the discovery of sexual identity.
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