Friday, September 30, 2011

Ceal Floyer at 303 (Revision)

Ceal Floyer’s third exhibition at 303 Gallery is both massive and minimal. The vast warehouse-like gallery features the magnitude and bareness to intensify the simplicity of Floyer's multimedia works. A soft buzzing sound permeates the space and becomes louder and more distinct as one approaches a collection of black speakers embedded into the wall. The installation, Line Busy (Us Version) , appears from the entrance as a simple horizontal line, but reveals itself to be loud speakers humming the sound of a telephone’s busy signal.
Each of the four installations occupy one wall, dramatizing each seemingly simple object and forcing the viewer to notice each one’s subtleties. A silver ladder, simply titled Ladder, leaning on one wall of the gallery, bares only the first and last steps and is therefore unusable. One wonders if this is in some way a nod to the notion that an object upon losing its utility becomes a work of art. The same thought comes to mind in the centerpiece of the exhibition, Page 8680 of 8680, reported by the gallery to be the height and shape of a pedestal upon which a sculpture would normally stand. However, like the ladder beside it, this pedestal gives the impression of solidity and purpose, yet has no function as it is made entirely of stacked sheets of paper. The realization of the works’ deceitfulness combined with the white noise of Line Busy leaves the viewer unsure of whether to explore the work further or to leave before something falls out of place.


  1. Good juxtaposition of conceptual scale of the work - an intriguing way to start off your introduction. Very good description of how a particular piece in the show appears and how one's perspective changes upon closer analysis. You present the reader with the idea of objects that possess a particular function, lose their functionality through repetition or negation of their original/foundational structure and gain the title 'art'. However, i wish you would explore or add, what exactly the artist meant with these objects. Does he indeed conceive of them as art? Or is he making a pun? Does he wish to address the irony of utilitarian objects acquiring the name 'art' in everyday use? Or is he commenting on the need for an artist to step in and call something art? Is there an artist's statement? what are his goals? what does he want to achieve/say with these installations? And how is the viewer meant to respond/react? I think your analysis would be much strengthened if you could address some of these points.

  2. Hey Sue,

    I think this review is very well constructed. You make some strong points and do a good job recreating the atmosphere of the show. I especially enjoyed your description of the speakers against the wall as a "horizon line", because I think that added another subtle layer to the presentation of the work that other viewers may not have perceived.

    My main criticism has to do with wording. In the first two sentences you use the name of the gallery twice, which felt awkward to read. You do it again with name of the show, ending the second sentence with the name and immediately repeating it to begin the next sentence. I think if you substitute your second use of "303 Gallery" with "the space", it might flow better. Same deal with the show title.

    Also, I think the last paragraph could be re-worded to more effectively convey the connection between the spacial and aural elements of the show and the viewer's feelings of curiosity and anxiety.

    All in all, the review was concise, understandable, and well put-together. Good job.

  3. Ah! I am a terrible proof reader! Thank you for your suggestions, guys they are very helpful!! :D