Grow Finish Unit (Eva, Oklahoma) 2008

The two Grow Finish Unit works (Eva, Oklahoma and near Elkhart, Kansas) stand as unique records of the extremes of functionality to be found at the start of the industrialised food production chain, wherein the contract between farmer and farmed is reduced to a purely technical, almost contactless process.  The sheds reconstructed on these two virtual representations of sites on the Great Plains of the western United States each house up to 1,000 pigs, and each is entirely unmanned and operated on a day to day basis by computer.

A scene almost entirely without visible action, the only apparent movement is that of an autonomous wind which animates the surface dust on the effluent ponds in an ongoing and open way.  Additionally, in a symbolic moment of exchange, every 6–8 months a transport truck will arrive and pull up to each building, where it stands for 1 hour.  This rhythm, which is an open behavior, reflects the growth cycle of the pigs enclosed within the sheds: the animals are being loaded into the trucks to be transported for butchering.  As in reality, at no point are the many thousands of occupants of the eight sheds visible under the sun, which relentlessly circles in a 12-month orbit of its own, giving ultimate definition to the span of the work.

As in the artist's related works with oil derricks, in viewing the Grow Finish Units one is being exposed to a representation of modern society's means of production at the structural level.
The aesthetic is one that has been shaped directly and purely by speculative forces. The sense that this representation is not an image but rather a place that exists in simulation, always and in real time, provides a special position from which to contemplate the reality that undergirds 'everyday' reality. (AO)

Producer: Werner Poetzelberger
Programmers: Helmut Bressler, Matthias Strohmaier
Modeller: Daniel Fellsner
Presentation design / Corian fabrication: Jakob Illera / Inseq, Vienna

Installed at:  'John Gerrard'
Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain
7 February – 2 April, 2011
with Grow Finish Unit (near Elkhart, Kansas), 2008



Grow Finish Unit (Eva) at Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain, 2011

7 February - 2 April, 2011
'John Gerrard'
Solo exhibition

Ivorypress Art + Books Space I will be hosting an exhibition of John Gerrard (Dublin, 1974) from 7 February until April the second 2011.
This multidisciplinary artist's work combines new technologies with photography and poetic language, while also reflecting on political and social issues. Among the works on display figures Cuban School (Sancti Spiritus), 2011 – comissioned by Ivorypress – a work that deals with the actual situation in Cuba out of an artistic perspective. Through hundreds of photographs of a school on the outskirts of Havana, Gerrard has constructed a 3D model and generated a software that allows the viewer to see the building from any distance and perspective. The work changes throughout the day and shows the lighting it would have in Cuba at the same moment we're seeing its image in Madrid. The condition of the building, which still functions as a school even as it falls to ruin, is a way to speak about melancholy and to envisage the effects of time on structures, whether architectonic or human.


Grow Finish Unit (Eva) at Hirshhorn Museum + Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA, 2011

23 June – 28 August 2011
'Fragments in Time and Space'
Group exhibition

A Look at Diverse Approaches to Notions of Time and Space
The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn presents 'Fragments in Time and Space,' on view June 23 – Aug. 28, an exhibition that draws primarily on the museum’s collection to explore the diverse ways in which artists have envisioned, employed and manipulated notions of time and space across a variety of media. Located in the museum’s second-level galleries.
 'Fragments' features works by 16 artists:
David Claerbout, Tacita Dean, Jan Dibbets, Thomas Eakins, Hamish Fulton, John Gerrard, Douglas Gordon, Takahiko iimura, On Kawara, Richard Long, Ed Ruscha, Wolfgang Staehle, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mark Tobey and Jeff Wall. The pieces in the exhibition, most acquired since 2000, use a range of direct and indirect approaches to encourage viewers to focus on and reconsider the way they perceive and experience the world—from a single moment in time to an idea of the infinite. The organizing curator for “Fragments in Time and Space” is deputy director and chief curator Kerry Brougher.

Throughout art history, but particularly since the beginnings of Modernism, the representation and analysis of the universal concepts of time and space have been central to art in all media. As early as 1884, Eakins, recognized mainly as a painter, attempted to break movement down into its component parts in his motion-study photographs. His use of sequential images finds contemporary echoes in works by such artists as Dibbets, Kawara and Sugimoto. While Eakins dissected motion through photography, Sugimoto is interested in the opposite, compressing an expanse of time into an instant in his long-exposure movie-palace photographs. Similarly, Sugimoto’s “Seascapes” represent bodies of water around the world at specific moments; in their austere compositions, each of these works hark back to what Sugimoto calls 'a primordial landscape.'

The ability to capture and even manipulate space and time has been expanded by the technical innovations of cinema. 'Fragments' demonstrates how this medium has provided artists with greater means to control these elements, both in the works themselves and in the orchestration of the viewer’s experience. For instance, Dean creates a 44-minute film of a slowly revolving restaurant, in what was formerly East Berlin. Designed as a futuristic utopian vision, the restaurant, though endlessly in  motion, goes nowhere. Gordon, in “Play Dead; Real Time” (2003) takes the cinema image off the wall and projects it onto two large screens in the middle of the gallery. Dismantling the window-like effect of the screen as a view into a fictive landscape, he places it firmly within the viewers’ space and time. And the conflation of still and moving images in ways that challenge perception is central to the work of artists like Gerrard, Wall and Claerbout, who use a range of techniques to re-create, stretch and layer time.


Grow Finish Unit (Eva) at Hirshhorn Museum + Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA, 2009

5 November 2009 – 31 May 2010
'Directions : John Gerrard'
Solo exhibition, acquisition of the museum

John Gerrard’s (Irish, b. Dublin, 1974) works hover between fact and fiction.
They present actual scenes from desolate corners of the American landscape and unfold in real time so that patient viewers can experience the progression of the day from morning to night in each setting; however, what looks like a live shot is, in fact, a manipulated, fabricated image. Gerrard photographed every site from 360 degrees and then animated the stills into seamless cinematic panning shots. Instead of the overt conflicts so prominent in video games that use this same technology, the artist relates realistic elements—a pumping oil derrick, a pig processing plant, and a vintage storm photo superimposed on a real farmscape—with elegant subtlety. Yet while these works recall the stark illumination and precision of twentieth-century realist paintings by Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, and Edward Hopper, their heightened effects also underscore the bleak ramifications of depleting natural resources. Gerrard’s mesmerizing replicas re-imagine landscape art and offer meditations on the impact of our habits of consumption.

Grow Finish Unit (Eva) at Simon Preston Gallery, 2009

10 January – 8 March 2009
John Gerrard 'Oil Stick Work'
Solo exhibition
Site specific free standing projection wall
426 cm x 335 cm x 25 cm

Grow Finish Unit (Eva) at la Chapelle de l'Ecole des beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 2008

10 September – 23 November 2008
'Academia: Qui es-tu?'
Group show curated by Axel Vervoordt

Axel Vervoordt presents Academia: Qui es-tu?, taking place at La Chapelle de l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, from September 10 until November 23, 2008. It is the second part of a trilogy which started with the exhibition Artempo: When time becomes Art and which ran at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, Italy, between June and November last year. The trilogy will be completed in 2009 with the Venice-based L’Infinito del Non Finito.



Fragments in Time and Space at The Hirshhorn
Brand, Will. Art Fag City, July 26th 2011

We've gotten better at time. Though a recent study has confirmed we can't beat it, the flash-freezing of photographic documentation and the temporal control of video has brought contemporary time (if such a thing can be identified) a long way from the immutable march of the everyday. In the arts, we've discovered an ability to expand and contract time as it's lived, and moreover we've learned to communicate that ability – to make the variable internal perception evident in phrases like “time flies when you're having fun” into a problem, a challenge, and rich ground for artmaking. Hence, the continuing relevance of shows like Fragments in Time and Space (through Aug. 28th), an exhibition from the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. that aims to “demonstrate the diverse ways in which time and space have been conceptualized, employed, and manipulated.”
Will Brand of Art Fag City, July 26th 2011
Read article here

Research Image for Grow Finish Unit (Eva, Oklahoma) 2008 giglee print on hahnemuehle photorag Edition of 15 + 5AP