John Gerrard's Cuban School

Since Thursday John Gerrard is showing his new work Cuban School (Community 5th of October) and his work Lufkin at Simon Preston gallery in the Lower East Side. There is another event attached to Gerrard's show, the fall residency of AO&, but more on that in a subsequent post. Find here some pictures and thoughts on the opening and works.
"Cuban School (Community 5th of October) 2010 is a portrait of an existing building, situated in the countryside outside Havana. Constructed in the 1960's to a modular Eastern Bloc design, the school is, though actively used and home to 75 school children, essentially a 'functional ruin', disinheriting its formal integrity through entropy and decay. The site continues the artist's interest in modular, pre-fabricated structures, questioning their resilience and capacity to exist as potent entities once complicit resources are depleted or removed." [source]

 Next to Cuban School, another Gerrard piece was exhibited at the gallery. Lufkin (image below) is portraiying a still working oil pump in the American landscape and is part of Gerrard's series of oil pump portraits.
Gerrard's pieces are representations, portraits of often invisible industrial icons or artifacts in the landscape. Through digital imaging, 3D modelling and gaming software these structures are revived in a digtal realm, kept alive by art boxes (customized computers) to become real time representations of themselves. As gaming is frequently a way to escape reality and to find ourselves in a world we can freely create, Gerrard's pieces draw a virtual portrait about real situations, maintaining them, making them visible and society able to dicuss them.Gerrard shows his pieces as well in public space (currently in London) which makes these art pieces accessible to the general public.
[source and copyright]
During a recent lecture at MOMA, Gerrard showed his pieces 'Grow Finish Unit (near Eva, Oklahoma)' (image above) and 'Sow Farm (near Libbey, Oklahoma)' which are virtual portraits of fully automized pig production units in the American landscape. Describing his work process, Gerrard told about how he found these unmanned (only 'pigged') units in the landscape ('piggeries' are automatically feeding piglets and pigs which are 'harvested' according to schedule), documented and recreated them with his team in Vienna, Austria. For Gerrard it is interesting to render neglected instruments of industrial production visible as icons thereby picking up topics previously neglected by society. He as well mentioned his interest in the piggerie's role of producing excess nitrogen and showed works soon to be finished. I am very much looking forward to the explosive ballet. ;)
Gerrad works with the Austrian collective AO& which host dinners at his viennese studio during an annual 'fall residency'. Now AO& came to NYC to conduct their fall residency performing cooking events under a very strict codex for a limited amount if guests. We will experience that tonite and you can read about it in a subsequent post.

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