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Parergon and The Gutter: David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen opens group exhibition
Martin Creed, work No.300 (detail), 2003, Paul Housley, Sleeping Head, 2013, Alex Da Corte, Open Window (Cake Stand Hex), 2013.

By: David Risley


COPENHAGEN.- This show originally came out of thinking about an essay by Jacques Derrida that I read 20 years ago and didn't understand and a conversation about comic strips which I did.

The Derrida essay (The Parergon, published in the 1987 volume "The Truth in Painting") argued against Kant's idea of the intrinsic nature of the work of art, a universal value of beauty. In those essays the words Ergon (the work) and Parergon (that which is supplementary to the work, i.e. the frame) are frequently used.

The Gutter is the gap between two frames in a comic strip. It is in this gap that time and meaning happen. In one frame we see a man walking towards a banana skin. In the next frame we see a man in a hospital bed. It is in the gap between the frames that we understand he slipped, hit his head, got picked up by an ambulance.

This show contains no examples of parergon. The frame is central to these works. It is inherent to their physicality and meaning, not an afterthought added to protect and display them. The frame in this context can be the revealed structure of a painting, the exhibition architecture and the society around it, or the journey that a sculpture makes through space. The frame can be physical, institutional, or metaphorical. The gallery is the gutter.

Artists: Alex Da Corte (US) •Martin Creed (UK) • Jose Dávila (MEX) • Sam Francis (US) • Helen Frik (UK/NL) • Ryan Gander (UK) • Poul Gernes (DK) • Paul Housley (UK) • Merlin James (UK) • J. F. Willumsen (DK)





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