Thomas Zummer: a partial retrospective of works I should have done

June 21, 2012 - August 5, 2012

Thomas Zummer: a partial retrospective of works I should have done is subtitled in the artist’s hand on the gallery wall, “and a few that I did do.” This exhibition spans the course of Zummer’s career with more than 30 drawings, prints, and sculptures. It is a show about photography that has no photography in it. Rather, it’s a show about the apprehension, arrestment, fixation of an image, of what happens when we try to capture an image. It is about the relationship between representation (re-presentation) and reference, that to which the photo refers or purports to capture. It is about the complex performance process in which we engage to capture images and the passage of those images through various states via various media which point to the invisible apparatus for the production of that image. So in a sense, it is an exhibition about the archeology of contemporary image. At the same time, as his hand-inscribed wall text will suggest, this is an exhibition about the duality inherent in the word, “abstraction,” which means both to draw away from and to draw out of such that any representation, no matter the aim at fidelity, participates in both eliciting from and departing from the content of the original. And of course, as the title suggests, this partial retrospective is a show with a sense of humor, seen especially in his absurd architectural proposals such as his beautifully impossible rotating UN building.

Zummer’s work is enriched by the fruits of his rigorous philosophical investigations and critical theoretical work focusing on continued exploration of ideas of Michel Foucault, for whom Zummer was a research assistant at Berkeley, and the history of technology including his obsession with robots.

This exhibition of drawings, paintings, and sculptures spans the course of Zummer’s career, more than 15 works including juvenalia and work coming out of his Foucault internship. This exhibition will take place in the Feldman Gallery + Project Space.

There will be an opening reception, before Zummer’s lecture, at 5:30 pm in the Feldman Gallery + Project Space on June 21.

Thomas Zummer, is an artist and lecturer at the Tyler School of Art and a visiting professor in critical studies in the Transmedia Programme at the Hogeschool Sint Lukas, Brussels, as well as visiting professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee. Thomas Zummer is an internationally aclaimed independent scholar and writer, as well as being an artist and curator. As an artist he has exhibited internationally since 1976, including at Exit Art, Thread Waxing Space, and The Dia Foundation in New York City as well as at the CAPC in Bordeaux and Wigmore Hall in London. With his wife, they have had a long collaboration as well with The Wooster Group, acting in many of their performances. Most recently, Zummer was artist in residence at the haudenschildGarage in La Jolla, California. In 1995 Thomas Zummer won 5th Prize in the ACA/CODA Architectural Design Competition for the City of Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics.

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