Opening on January 11, 2006, David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Christopher Williams. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. Williams’ work has been exhibited this past year at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; the Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany; and currently at the SECESSION, Vienna, Austria. He has been selected to participate in the upcoming Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, and solo shows at Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy and the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal are slated for 2006.
Christopher Williams’ work operates within the conventions of advertising, the superficiality of surface, and, ultimately (perhaps cumulatively), the history of Modernism. In photography, film, performance, sculpture, graphic design, and video, the process of reproduction is the artist’s point of entry; from there he exposes the flaws in a near-perfect, carefully constructed reality. Each image, whether architectural or figurative, natural or manufactured, is subject to the conditions of production and the inevitable boundaries of the pictorial surface. Helmut Drexler states, ‘By systematically building such provocative moments into his work, Christopher Williams to an extent kick-starts the process of perception and reception and at least points it in a certain direction. This approach, which oscillates between the work itself and the process of producing it, can now also be related to the genealogy of his own artistic methods, both in relation to and in contradistinction from Rephotography and Conceptual Art.’
The exhibition will include a number of new and recent photographs, among them two views of a Kiev camera lens, a Dacia 1300L car advertisement, a jellyfish, and a flower market in Cologne. Within this diverse range of subject matter, Williams disrupts preconceived notions by capturing tiny cosmetic and mechanical flaws. For example, the model with shampooed hair behind a shower door in (Model, 105M-R59C Kestone Shower Door 57, 4 x 59”Chrome/Raindrop SKU, 109149, 96235. 970-084-000 (Meiko Perkins, Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2005 (B), 2005) (2005) has not been retouched, and the corn in Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide, © 1968 Eastman Kodak Company, 1968. (Corn) Douglas M. Parker Studio, Glendale, California, April 17, 2003 (2003) is the plastic variety used for professional photography shoots.
Williams’ latest series, Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide, © 1968 Eastman Kodak Company, 1968 (Miko), Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 6, 2005 (2005), depicts a professional model in a Kodak-yellow towel turban with a visible Kodak color bar. The model was selected by following Jacques Tati’s casting call for his film Playtime, 1967: “A girl about 20-25 years old, coy, a little awkward, but with intelligent eyes… the most important is the reserved appearance, due to a good education.” Though the model’s pose is reminiscent of a professional fashion shoot, the image is more anthropological than commercial – a result of the artist’s purposeful lack of post-production retouching.
Williams’ photographs are, as noted by Vanessa Joan Müller in a recent essay, ‘icons of a technological modernity which itself constantly reproduces the images that it creates in its products in the aesthetic of its time. …as a constant questioning of the conditions of our modernity, of its products and projects, that is aware of its own entanglement in all these things.’