The DART Board: 04.22.2020

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday April 22, 2020

While the work of Austrian sculptor Oliver Laric seems so of the moment as to dismiss any connection with appropriation, his practice is rooted in works as old as time. Essentially, Laric deals with versions, spurred in part by the tradition, during antiquity, of producing multiple iterations of master works. Laric inhabits a universe of multiple realities, the lack of distinction between an original and a copy, questions of authorship—a virtual hall of mirrors in which we question: what is art/what is culture. In work that continues on his process of combining 3D models of casts from antiquity, re-cast in various materials—transparent to opaque, clear to colorful—he reflects the conditions of our digital world: how original and copy, thing and thought, event and document, are collapsed in a flattened information space where everything is a click away from everything else. Photo above from the artist’s website

But they also result in actual works that can be seen in space and touched with the hand [that is, if you are an art handler or if you own one of these]. His life-size piece, Jungling tom Magdalensberg, seen at Frieze NY 2018, is emblematic of his practice. Its combined transparency and opaqueness, much like the works in the photo above, reflects on the escalating distrust of images and narratives—now rising to new heights in the shifting world of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oliver Laric at the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna, November 2015. Photo: Iris Ranzinger. Courtesy: Oliver Laric.

With lockdown continuing, Laric’s New York gallery, Metro Pictures, is currently running an online exhibition, Armageddon, that includes his work, together with that of Sara Van Der Beek and Louise Lawler, to explore the ways in which these artists adopt historical works into their own artworks. This from the gallery’s announcement: 

“When anything comes to an end we tend to look back at its past; when it’s the world that’s ending civilization is that something. Hollywood uses grand monuments—obvious, nationalistic symbols of identification in [quoted] examples—but more humble cultural productions can connect, and orient, us to the vast welter that is human history. In less troubled times we collect and preserve the parts that make up the sum of civilization. No doubt many of those parts and the collections that contain them have problematic histories. When faced with global catastrophe the drive to invest our attention to the sum as well as its parts, whether critically or admiringly, is perhaps greater than usual.”
View Armageddon—only until May 24th—here.

During the 2018 iteration of Frieze NY, Oliver Laric participated in a panel titled Version Control, with Thomas Demand and Stephanie Syjuco, moderated by Joanne McNeil. The speakers consider new and emerging issues related to the ownership, circulation, copyright, and authenticity of forms and images. Listen here

From @oliverlaric

In an interview with Laric in Mousse Magazine, Chiara Moioli’s introduction states, “His cosmos can be described as the reflection of—and on—a relatively new condition in the history of culture, where everything is effortlessly reachable and instantaneously reproducible, everything can be hybridized with everything else, anything is free and unfinished, its potential never entirely fulfilled; a situation that frames the Foucauldian prophecy of “What matter who is speaking?,” ultimately embedding the status of a generation that grew up on the internet, and with the internet.” In a branch of his practice, Laric offers his 3D scans of plaster casts of works from antiquity for unconditional use by others. Info

Oliver Laric Websiste Instagram


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