DENK gallery is pleased to present new works by Los Angeles-based, multi-disciplinary artist Kasper Kovitz in Educational Devices. The Austrian artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery will include sculpture, painting, installation, and photography. Kovitz is interested in the role of systems and the ideologically inflected ways in which we know the world through its classifications and edicts. Our measures of progress, our empirical faculties, all are dependent upon these unavoidably reductive epistemological architectures, and the systemic omissions they require in service of their cohesion. We have produced means of quantifying the ineffable and qualifying the immeasurable. Fascinated by the indeterminate spaces left unstructured by these sociocultural scripts, Kovitz offers imagistic propositions to explore the narratives and symbolic constellations through which society's mores are entrenched.
Kovitz's experimental approach to media and material have led to diverse bodies of interconnected works. Envisioned as individual parts of a larger, and steadily expanding, meta-narrative, each piece functions on its own or holistically when observed as part of the artist's more substantial oeuvre. Kovitz has used everything from jam, dirt, and tree sap, to gummy bears - an installation in Tokyo required 120,000 of them - and even Iberian ham carved into impressive figurative feats of butchery, exploring Nineteenth Century Basque Nationalism. Kovitz provokes visceral associations with socially relevant materials and imagery, choices bordering at times on the grotesque and abject. The body, in Kovitz's work, both individual and collective, is at odds with the existence of its own seams and borders.
A recurring figure appears throughout Kovitz's works, emerging regularly as both object and subject, viewer and voyeur; 'Litmus,' as the artist has named 'it,' is an ambiguous prop and prop master. A serially cast mold of a standard issue shooting target used by the FBI, 'Litmus' is a human form proposed in the absence of subjectivity, not to mention the bearer of an inconclusive namesake derived from both a chemical alkalinity test and a process of political vetting. Litmus is borderless and unfixed, and as its name suggests, a symbolic analog, a surrogate, a barometer, and an ideological experiment in unscripted identity, but above all else, 'Litmus' is the eroded copy of an imprecise origin, symbolically human but conceptually inanimate and vehicular. A physical and instructional trope, the target itself is an educational prop and pedagogical implement.
In Educational Devices, Kovitz explores the existence of the systemic armatures supporting, denaturing, and informing our ideologies, politics, and identities, particularly in the context of America's aspirational consumer culture. The visual and material metaphors staged by the artist consider how our world is shaped by an expanded taxonomical rather than experiential field. Addressing the productive elisions of the classificatory, Kovitz finds indeterminate spaces of potential in the prescriptively finite.