Where the paintings are painted at the opening



Merlin Carpenter
The Opening: The Studio Visit Rehearsal Dinner Party Coffee
Galerie Mitterrand + Sanz / Zurich
on Friday 30th May 2008, 7-9 pm
show runs until 12th july

"I was a big baby with big artists" ­ Trudie Styler.

The Studio Visit Rehearsal Dinner Party Coffee is the fourth in a series of shows where Merlin Carpenter saves time, or in the English expression "kills two birds with one stone" by making his paintings at the opening. The first was at Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York, the second at Overduin and Kite in LA, and the third, organised by Galerie Christian Nagel, was located in The Corner fashion store and in a gigantic Mercedes-Benz showroom in Berlin, where the paintings were side-swiped from the window of a moving car. Corporate horror, corporate guilt: this showroom show was the last in a series of works featuring Mercedes-Benz products including the badly wrecked 90s limousine currently exhibited outdoors in Zodiac 3000 at the International Project Space in Birmingham, UK.

The "Action Painting" catalogue  from the Beyeler Foundation is rubbish. Pollock was still composing, arranging, conservative. Today's view of informel is about ideological recovery. There is NOTHING behind these contemporary reproductions/recontextualisations of 50s paintings, no discourse lurks within. No opening, no position, no critique. On the contrary what seems like an opening is just money and power. Nevertheless, just bodies and power are all there are, The feminist view has pointed the way out toward the necessary mediocrity: Gutai, Robert Morris, Yvonne Rainer, Kubota, Gunther Brüs, Janine Antoni, Shiraga, Lee Krasner.

Zürich Spiders web drawn in BLACK SIENNA, The Black Parade, working with rich EMO screamo pillocks. Student grot. The idiotic show, gossip, chat, I know what you did after your bad taste opening dinner....Party... damien skull...  Amazing Hot artist performance.... The canvases arrive ready made. The artist steps off the plane. The champagne is uncorked, the wine is unscrewed. Seemingly no work goes into the making of the commodity in this easy kind of exhibition. But that is only partly true. Someone has to make the blank canvases. Before The Opening in LA in February 2008, the canvases had to be re-stretched at the last minute. A whole team of semi-legal Mexican workers lost half their weekend wrestling with still-wet toxic lead white paint-covered linen. More- and less- coerced working classes are also involved in the making of the timber, the stretcher bars, the staples and of course the linen, both at source and for the weaving in Belgium. Not to mention the transport of the canvases by low-paid marginalized artist types and technicians. So just as the painting stubbornly maintains its grasp on the collector's dollar, the object also maintains its compromised relation to exploitation and ecological damage.  Raw materials are also commodities, containing surplus-value. So even the idea of trying to show "the making of" the readymade - in this case a readymade painting - a process enacted in The Opening series of shows - already involves readymade commodities such as linen and paint. This project is only a metaphor in that sense.

Merlin Carpenter was born in 1967 in the UK, he lives and works in London. This exhibition will be his first one since the gallery opened in March 2007 and it is the third one with Edward Mitterrand (M-Project, Paris and Galerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva).

Solo museum exhibitions have been organized by the Bergen Kunsthall in Norway in 2005 and the Secession, Vienna in 2000. Monographs of Carpenter's work include Relax It's Only a Bad Cosima von Bonin Show, Galerie Bleich-Rossi, Vienna, 2007; Nueva Generación, Distrito 4, Madrid,2004, Militant, Christian Nagel Gallery, Cologne, 2002; and As a Painter I Call Myself the Estate of, Secession, Vienna, 2000.


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