If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.
Boredom as a subject for contemporary art has a significant legacy. Bruce Naumann has returned to it again and again. John Baldessari famously promised not to make any more “boring art” and artists as diverse as John Cage, Andy Warhol, and Yoko Ono have conjured up artwork after artwork where nothing happens. Literally. It is within this (boring) lineage that Cristin Tierney Gallery presents a selection of works by John Wood and Paul Harrison.
Boredom, as explored through video, sculpture, and works on paper by the British artists, is both a source of creativity and a joke about the limitations, blockages, and failures experienced in the studio. In Bored Astronauts on the Moon, the artists present themselves as modern astronauts who stand or walk around in silence on a lunar landscape. It is a destination synonymous with adventure, danger, and excitement, but any initial enthusiasm soon gives way to tedium as minimal amounts of action unfold over the video’s twenty minutes. As the artists explain, “For us it wasn’t about the quest to conquer the world or space, although it clearly references that desire. It’s more about making an ongoing representation of the world, but all from the confines of our studio.”[i]
Bored opens Friday, May 8th, with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and the artists will be present. It is their first solo exhibition in New York.
John Wood (b.1969, Hong Kong) and Paul Harrison (b.1966, Wolverhampton) make single-channel videos, multi-screen video installations, prints, drawings, and sculptures that elegantly fuse advanced aesthetic research with existential comedy. The artists’ spare, to-the-point works feature the actions of their own bodies, a wide variety of static and moving props, or combinations of both to illustrate the triumphs and tribulations of making art and having a life. The videos maintain a strict internal logic, with the action directly related to the duration of the work. Inside this "logical world" action is allowed to happen for no apparent reason, tensions build between the environment and its inhabitant, play is encouraged and the influences on the work are intentionally mixed. In their not-always-successful experiments with movement and materials, many of which critic Tom Lubbock has described as “sculptural pratfalls,” Wood and Harrison employ exuberant invention, subtle slapstick, and a touch of light-hearted melancholy to reveal the inspiration and perspiration—as well as the occasional hint of desperation—behind all creative acts.
Wood and Harrison met in 1989 at the Bath College of Higher Education, and have worked together since 1993.
For more information please contact Candace Moeller at +1.212.594.0550 or email@example.com.
[i] Bruno Volpi, “Things That Happen,” Dazed (February 23, 2012): https://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/12718/1/things-that-happen.