Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Marcus Neustetter: Observatory in the Making at Art On Paper

When viewing a Marcus Neustetter exhibition, it is always worth bearing in mind that he does not create art to be exhibited. What often goes on display are simply the products or by-products of performances or artistic and conceptual experiments driven by an ideological trajectory that he has been pursuing. As such, many will find that his latest exhibition is not terribly thrilling in a visual sense - well, except for the photographs that support or document his process, which are unusually alluring, given their practical function.

Photographs documenting Neustetter's journey to find the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway, present evocative banal, barren snow-covered landscapes infused by an eerie tangerine light. But Neustetter is not concerned with the end-product of his physical and conceptual expeditions but the journey itself, the process.His journeys may be driven by a calculated set of ideas, but when he has arrived at his destination, Neustetter immerses himself in the experience at hand. In the drawings at the Vela Spila site (an archeological site in Croatia), Neustetter doesn't attempt figurative representations of the site; rather he undertakes making what appears to be meaningless markings on paper. They are more than a testament that he was there; they are evidence that he has engaged in the act of viewing. Drawing is used to simply heighten his awareness of the space he is inhabiting.