Echo and Narcissus

Echo and Narcissus

    • June 1 – September 3, 2017
    • Project Space

Featuring Chris Sauter

A 2014-2015 Blue Star Contemporary Berlin Resident, Chris Sauter’s exhibition is inspired by his time in Berlin and current events. While in residence at the Künsterhaus Bethanian, Sauter took interest in the posters wheat pasted along the city’s streets. He made three-dimensional loudspeakers out of layers of the posters and re-sited them how they were found. Discussing the dissemination and receiving of information and role of language in the era of alternative facts, Chris’ exhibition at BSC will feature new loudspeaker reliefs and other sculptures whose forms are familiar to us as methods of communication.

Artist Statement

The work in Echo and Narcissus was started during my three-month stay in Berlin. It began as a reaction to the overwhelming amount of visual information lining the streets of the city, every exterior surface was covered with street posters and graffiti. New imagery/information appeared daily with each new poster. But, instead of being removed and refreshed, new posters were plastered onto the previous ones. They were often several inches thick building up over time like vertical sediment. Lamp posts grew in width like rings of a tree. One need only bore into them to uncover bits of recent history. The posters broadcast information to the city indiscriminately, sending signals into the psyche of all who pass. Using these posters as material I created loudspeaker reliefs, emphasizing both the function and history present in a stack peeled away from its original context while creating new dialogs through unearthing previous layers. 

While the posters as a material speak to the landscape of a specific city they also are identifiable as vehicles for communication at large. At a time when (social) media has become one of the most activated spaces of global politics, the posters called to be reconsidered in light of current events. When the President of the most powerful country in the world consistently lies or at the very least repeats falsehoods and then, when questioned, accuses the questioner (the media) of perpetuating “fake news”, the concept of truth and reason begins to fray. How can one know what is real, what is accurate from what is specious? What is your filter, reason or ideology? How can you tell? 

As is often part of my approach, I wanted to consider what is seemingly in opposition to these modes of communication. This landed me back to the radio telescope, a form of the most active listening. Radio telescopes listen for signals emanating from countless points in space/time extending from yesterday back to the beginnings of the universe. These signals are filtered by astronomers to create a picture of the observable universe. The two sides of the exhibition look at the sending and receiving of information and role of language in the era of alternative facts, a conversation relevant to my particular point in time as well as to more universal themes. –Chris Sauter

 

Artist Bio

Chris Sauter holds a B.A. from the University of the Incarnate Word and an M.F.A. from The University of Texas at San Antonio. By combining disparate materials and images, transforming objects into other recognizable objects, and shifting scale, Sauter’s work explores the links between nature and culture, the present and the primordial, the personal and the universal. He has exhibited across the United States, Mexico, and Europe. His works have been featured at The Kohler Art Center; the Musee d’Art Moderne Saint-Etienne, France; The Drawing Center, NY; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art; and PS1, New York. Sauter was recently a Blue Star Contemporary Resident at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. He is the Interim Chair of Painting and Drawing and the Director of Foundations at the Southwest School of Art. He decorates cakes and designs/builds theater sets in his spare time.