Jack Pierson — Ennui (La Vie Continue)


Installation, painting, sculpture, mixed media

Jack Pierson
Ennui (La Vie Continue)

Past: March 2 → April 20, 2013

Ennui (Life Goes On) is the sixth solo exhibition by American artist Jack Pierson.

Pierson continues his experiments into the wealth of mental associations triggered through his sculptures made of found commercial signage as well as his drawings and paintings. In this exhibition Pierson takes on the important questions besetting Western culture.

The sculpture These eternal questions confronts the visitor with the founding mechanisms of Greek philosophy. Questioning the eternal questions is particularly relevant insofar as there is nothing intrinsically eternal about them — at some point, those questions must inevitably have been asked for the first time. The artist involves us in the beginnings of thought and human awareness.

Jack Pierson continues with His quiet waters a direct reference to the biblical text the 23rd Psalm: "He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters”. Pierson thus references that other great source of knowledge in western culture, the Judeo- Christian tradition. Where the Greek philosophical tradition perhaps asks more questions than it answers, the bible, which is traditionally considered to be the word of God, constitutes a set of guidelines for humanity.

With short, sharp, sometimes blunt sayings and proverbs, Pierson raises existential as well as poetic and political questions. He ponders over the principle of narrative so that the exhibition offers a quintessentially cathartic experience in the manner of a film script. In installing the works in the gallery space, Pierson reconstructs the script for the several-thousand-year history of human prevarication in its search for the meaning of existence. And in so doing, affirms the narrative power of the exhibition.

The parallel with the universe of film continues in the major work in the exhibition. The main gallery space is dominated by the gigantic Dream installation. It is both a demonstration of the power of the imagination and a homage to the major role played by dreams in intellectual constructs and the answers that can sometimes be obtained from them.

What if, like a cliffhanger in the last minutes of a film, the exhibition drew to a close with a phrase setting off new questions?

Jack Pierson was born in 1960 in Plymouth, Massachusets. While studying at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, he and four other artist photographers, including Nan Goldin, founded a group known as the Boston Five. He divides his time between New York City and his house in the desert to the east of Los Angeles. Works by Jack Pierson feature in major collections worldwide, including LACMA and MoCA, Los Angeles, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Guggenheim in New York, and the CAPC, Bordeaux, France.

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The artist

  • Jack Pierson