RIDGEFIELD, CT.- The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
offers a snapshot of Tom Sachss work that focuses exclusively on cameras.
For many years, a small but significant part of Sachss production has dealt with cameras. This exhibition brings together twelve works, from 1972 to the present, that not only explore the camera as both sculptural and functional object, but, perhaps more importantly, chart the course that photography and the globalization of precision manufacturing has taken over the past century.
The exhibition includes the earliest existing work by the artist, a clay replica of a Nikon SLR camera that Sachs made when he was eight years old as a gift to his father. This contrasts with his recent elegy to the now-defunct Polaroid Corporation: a fully functional instant camera that has been cobbled together out of (among other things) a Canon digital camera, a tiny HP inkjet printer, and a battery from a Makita cordless drill.
Sachss cameras turn the tables on the usual artistic photographic process, where the image made with the camera is the art and the camera itself is merely a tool. Playing off the consumer fetishization of photographic equipment, Sachss cameras simultaneously deconstruct the technology of photography while at the same time revealing that these ubiquitous machines are compelling subjects in and of themselves.
Aldrich exhibitions director Richard Klein said, While Tom is widely known for his do-it-yourself version of Pop appropriation, the Cameras exhibition expands upon his interest in the functional, utilitarian, and socio-economic meaning of objects, rather than their superficial character. This concern is what sets him apart from most other artists working with Pop influences.
Tom Sachs was born in New York in 1966 and grew up in Connecticut. The sculptor is probably best known for his elaborate recreations of various Modern icons, all of them masterpieces of engineering and design.
He has made Knoll office furniture out of phone books and duct tape; recreated Le Corbusiers 1952 Unité dHabitation using only foam core and a glue gun; and built a McDonalds using plywood, glue, and assorted kitchen appliances. All the seams, joints, and screws are left exposed; nothing is erased, sanded away, or rendered invisible. On a philosophical level, this means that nothing Sachs makes is ever finished; it can always be redesigned and improved. Recent exhibitions include Bronze Collection, Lever House, New York; Space Program, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills; and Prada Foundation, Milan. Sachs is represented by Sperone Westwater, New York.