The world is yours if you are real

november 2 - December 16, 2018 


My gaze could now on no fair view repose,

In mournful veil conceal’d,

the world seem’d dead;

The clouds soon closed around me, as a tomb,

And I was left alone in twilight gloom.[1]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “Dedication Poem,” 1865

 Cloud is a body without a surface but not without substance.”[2] Cloud is a surface without substance but not without body. “A body without organs.”[3]_A form without content.  A container without rigidity in an infinite state of modification.  A changing proposition.  A system. 

Our body, an altogether different type of container, is dead in the cloud.  Our bodies become indistinguishable — the cloud transforms all bodies into surface — all surface to interface. Without a distinguishable body, we work.  Our work is external to us — labor processes are designed based in the physical and mental energies of the worker.  In the cloud, our work is spontaneous — adding surface to bodies but still without substance. Our labor, entirely divorced from its product, gives the body pleasure, as it represents not the product of our labor but the product of our desires.  Although we cannot experience our bodies in the cloud, we can witness their torture.  We masochists experience pleasure based in association to private properties.  That is our product.  

The cloud endlessly appropriates our product.  Without delegation, it repeats the aggregates that we have projected onto it.  “…clouds formed in different parts of the atmosphere operate on each other, when brought near, occasioning their destruction by each other; an effect which can only be attributed to their possessing beforehand, or acquiring at the moment, the opposite Electricities.”[4] Seeing many clouds above you, you notice their difference, you project objects onto them, you experience them as a mirror of your landscape.  They look back at you with indifference. 

The Chimney is pleased to present an exhibition by American artist Matt Taber. “the world is yours if you are real” is the fifth part of the exhibition series “My Name is Everybody” which explores modes of desire within a computational landscape.   

Inside The Chimney, a monumental cloud stands on a tower. The cloud, a nebulous phenomenon stands to resist the physical world and has been turned into a free-floating sign, an architecture that repeats and changes throughout time. Taber explores the mythology of the cloud and its dynamic symbolism - from the cosmological sublime to the computational cloud. The cloud stands as a system, a space that is appropriated or misappropriated with difference and repetition.  A stairway allows viewers to ascend into the cloud.  Two paintings of similar clouds are visible.  

Depicting a future utopia in the American West, Taber describes intrapersonal desires and the landscapes that produce them.  On view at the Chimney is the third trailer from “My Name is Everybody”.  Caught in the computational cloud, characters roam through the pastiche American West attempting to rediscover their bodies by enacting ritualistic processes of labor. The facticity of the video resembles that of the gallery space. Is there a separation between the characters in the movie and the audience? Viewers seem trapped in that same fictional landscape and become the witness of their own datafication. 

Like an eternally repeating feedback loop, our consumptive desires transform landscapes and our constructed environments feed and command our desires. Taber’s exhibition encourages viewers to see how today’s technology is presented with divine qualities and how, by creating a de-centralized sense of selfhood, the computational outgrowth has limited our relationship to the physical world.

[1]  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “Dedication Poem,” in Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, by Luke Howard (Cambridge University Press, 2012)  Original publication 1865.

[2]  Hubert Damisch. A Theory of /cloud: Toward a History of Painting, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002).

[3]  Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983).

[4]  Luke Howard.  Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, (Cambridge University Press, 2012.  Original publication 1865).

Matt Taber (b. Boston, MA, USA) completed his MFA from Columbia University and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 His solo exhibitions include "In through the out door", Secret Dungeon Gallery, Brooklyn, USA (2018); "Hacienda 2", Interiors, Brooklyn, USA (2018); "Naked Earth", Elevator Mondays Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2017); "Hacienda", Holiday Forever Gallery, Jackson Hole, USA (2017); "I want You to want Me", YOUNG WORLD Gallery, Detroit, USA (2016).

His work has been included in group exhibitions at Chimney Gallery, Brooklyn, USA (2018), The Marjorie Barrick Museum, Las Vegas, USA (2017), 032c, Berlin, Germany (2016), GUCCIVUITTON, Miami, USA (2016), Schwarzwaldallee, Basel, Switzerland (2015).

 Taber has participated in Teton ArtLab (Jackson Hole, USA), The Corporation of Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, USA),  The Fallen Tower (Detroit, USA), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, USA), Internationale Sommeracademie (Salzburg, Austria).