The process in both Yozo Suzuki’s Gambit: An Opening Move and David Kimball Anderson’s In Nature is laid bare. What the exhibitions are intended for is more nebulous—but definitely not the point.
In the front room, Suzuki takes advantage of LDCA’s high ceilings for his conceptualization of animation machines, which look more like medieval torture devices. They create moving images through a series of seven pictures, lined up and dropped in succession from front to back, guillotine-style. These finely crafted, wooden contraptions range in size from nearly portable to towering overhead.
The instructions for an even larger animation machine than was realized in this exhibition (Suzuki had wanted to make it from steel, but was foiled by the steel fabricator’s apprehensions) are blown up to stretch from floor to ceiling, perhaps a reflection of the idea’s magnitude.
Indeed, both the construction and the concept are huge endeavors, whose results lend themselves better to a museum—any museum: Museum of Art, Museum of Science, Museum of Fake but Preferable History—than a living room.
On one side of the gallery, wooden totems with screens show video of the various animation machines in action. Sadly, the public isn’t allowed to set the machines off. The constructions themselves appear sturdy enough but, then again, there is the matter of the guillotines.
As for the animations: Each contraption holds images of vise-grips in tightening succession. Nearby, in a series of framed images like those in the animation machines, the Vice Sequence shows seven pictures of a hand in various stages of a fist—a human play on the vise-grip.
And while the works in both exhibitions are rendered without ploy from the craft of each artist’s hand, Suzuki’s come from the ether of his own mind; Anderson’s from life.
Though Anderson’s exhibition in the back room is called In Nature, it doesn’t lack artifice. Again, what’s going on is out in the open. Anderson, a master gilder, finds objects in nature, sometimes photographs them, then re-creates them in bronze. The result is a meta-experience with objects showcased in multiple media, in and out of context.
The New Bridge series consists of two digital images and a recreation, all of the side of a construction trailer. The trailer, which Anderson found at the work site of a bridge in Vermont, is decorated with a giant, faded three-leaf clover, like memory and luck gone bad. The images were taken of the trailer where it existed (in nature); the steel construction hanging on LDCA’s wall was created, presumably, because he had to leave the trailer where it lay.
“The Lodge (Source)” is a distinctly American image of a Moose Lodge sign. “The Lodge” is an exact replica of the dowdy sign, replete with power cord, internal light and slick (fake) snow. “Basin,” an in-gallery replica cast in rusted bronze, comes off just as neglected as the original basin in the image “Basin (Source).” We’re left to presume that the broken, bronzed “River Chair,” tipped over on LDCA’s floor, was once a real chair, similarly situated in a river somewhere.
French artist Marcel Duchamp once made the case for artist intention trumping artistry, using a mass-produced urinal he turned upside down, signed with a pseudonym and titled “Fountain.” Anderson takes the idea of artistry more seriously—or at least many steps further—while his intention is to merely display something he found beautiful. He presents compelling ordinary objects from the outside world, then re-renders them identically (save the bronze) in the gallery.
Both exhibitions show the artists as creators, whether what they create is from a dream or life. Each showcases the objects in multiple iterations, creating a visual timeline of how the works came into being, but not why. There are no tricks because the cards are shown—and it’s a fun game to play.