Sean Slemon: Die Sonne steht still

Sean Slemon’s solo exhibition The Sun Stands Still, timed to coincide with the northern winter solstice, when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, comprised three sculptural elements accompanied by photographic prints and delicate line drawings: cast shadows, deconstructed trees and a work that re-imagines lumber in its original natural form.

Schatten ist ein Kontrapunkt zum Licht. Unter Bezugnahme auf frühere Arbeiten, die Lichtstrahlen in drei Dimensionen einfingen, lässt die Serie der Schattenskulpturen sowohl Abwesenheit als auch Anwesenheit erkennen. Slemon hat seinen eigenen flüchtigen, schwer fassbaren Schatten nachgezeichnet und diese Projektionen zu einer erstarrten, dauerhaften skulpturalen Form erweitert. Shadow, Sleeper, Rising und Reach sind gespenstische, weiße, polierte Monolithen aus Polymergips, Schaum und Stahl. Shadows are an ethereal extension of our visceral bodies, and curator Manon Slome draws a delightful parallel with Peter Pan, who “was so in love with his shadow that he wanted to sew it on so it would always be with him and Wendy, through the magic of fairy tales and art was able to comply.”1 Similarly, Slemon draws and then sculpts his own shadow, setting in time a moment in the sun. Er ist fasziniert von der (Un-) Möglichkeit, das Vergängliche greifbar zu machen, und diese Skulpturen erinnern an Sinnlosigkeit, Verlust und die Wertschätzung der grundlegenden Ironie des romantischen Verlangens. An additional element, the arterial Branch, cast out of the same material as the shadows, captures the negative space of a tree limb and establishes a connection between Slemon’s body and a tree.Amidst the shadow series, Public Property: Elm Tree displays the residual detritus of a tree in a vertical glass case, the dimensions of which are derived from the artist’s body, suggesting coffin and vitrine. Die Arbeit steht im Dialog mit Public Property: Video Stills, einer Reihe von Drucken, bei denen der Präparationsprozess umgekehrt wird, so dass der Baum wiederbelebt erscheint und wie im Frühling grün blüht. Public Property forms part of Slemon’s ongoing exploration of the cities and infrastructures that he lives in. He examines trees as commodity and resource and introduces an ethical undercurrent, stating: “When I started working with this idea of the tree, I wanted it to be read as something that was for all, for the public.” Slemon’s utopian vision quietly motivates for the necessity of rebalancing our relationship to nature in order to ensure that society continues to have access to natural resources vital to public life.Goods For Me is a meticulous physical deconstruction of a peach tree that fell over one morning in the artist’s backyard. Es ist eine gleichzeitig intime und leidenschaftslose Untersuchung der Materialität des Baumes. Slemon’s process began with removing the leaves one by one, systematically breaking the tree into components, separating them by size and type, and then rearticulating the tree in glass cases, quantified, stacked in layers to form a horizontal wall of organic matter in the gallery. In diesem seltenen Kontext weist dieses Ephemera-Repository eine interessante Instabilität auf. The cases are not completely sealed and the work is intended to slowly devolve as roots, leaves, branches soil and trunk decompose through contact with air, oxygen, moisture and insects.Slemon is continually breaking things down and building things up, following traditional reductive and constructive sculptural processes that speak of a desire to control and understand what eludes him: “I take things apart so that they can be quantified.” The Sun Stands Still oscillates between enthusiasm and irony. Pine Tree recycelt Bauholz zurück in einen Baumstamm und verbindet natürliche Baumlinien mit städtischen Baumaterialien und -methoden. The work imagines the wood in its original form in what Slemon reflects is “a completely useless and impossible process, which is both a comment on art-making, but more importantly a desire to have nature be more successful.” The imposing log is covered with a seductive layer of gold leaf and ribbons, a veneer of perceived material value. Ultimately Slemon’s artistic gesture is to reassert nature’s value. Die Ausstellung lädt den Betrachter ein, kurz zwischen Licht und Schatten zu pausieren, so still wie ein Baum zu stehen und über ihre Position in Bezug auf die Sonne nachzudenken.1. Manon Slome, Aufsatz für den Ausstellungskatalog, 2011.2.