Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Against Attachment, the first institutional solo exhibition of the New York- and Zurich-based artist Ser Serpas in the United States.
This installation stages a scene from the artist’s windowless apartment studio in New York, where Serpas lived, studied, and worked during her last year at Columbia University. The four newly commissioned sculptures in Against Attachment are made of everyday detritus found in close proximity to the gallery space in the Lower East Side and are framed into large architectural, site-and-time-specific configurations. The works, conceived as anti-portraits, negotiate predicaments of visibility and invisibility, and of access and assimilation, in existing systems of valorization.
Serpas applies a similar process to a variety of materials, shuffling objects, histories, and information into precarious stand-ins for bodies reluctant to justify themselves as either forms or contents. As the only artificial source of light in the exhibition space, Untitled (2019), the artist’s Macbook plays a sculptural, ready-made DJ set of Google Chrome tabs on loop, reevaluating the relationship between the intimate and public, day and night, labor and recess.
Assembled in a poetic and athletic choreography over space, the works are testimonies to a presence of absence and physical tension, seeking to trouble systems of naming and equivalence. Opposing their own stability and coherence, all works will return to trash at the exhibition’s close.
when i first started making things in 2016, i lived in a windowless basement in bushwick not far from here. most nights my laptop lit me up, i had a little studio, some objects and a lot of sound. i was a different person back then, in a different room.
i make things the same way all the time. the things i find to make into other things i always find for free. i hope also because of this that the things that i make from those things are free as well, free of themselves and of the other things. i know however that being valueless does not free you from being determined by your relationship to value, or from constant evaluation, but i like to think that i make sculptures that have an unclear relationship to their own value, or that in their restlessness cant be trusted with it. i like to think that i make sculptures that pathologize value or lay bare its inescapable criminality. i am not interested in art or i am only interested in its negation. i have lived in new york for six years and i lived in la for eighteen years before that, but i am moving to switzerland to go to school. going to school in switzerland is less expensive than it is here, this is because free is different in switzerland. i like new york because there is a lot of free here, context mostly, everything is in public. you can superimpose yourself on to anything if you try hard enough, take something free and pretend it is yours, i think thats why so many people move here. in la free is also different. when i was growing up my mom worked in the property division of the los angeles police department. she worked with the material residue of crime, archiving and indexing objects that had been imparted meaning by their dispossession. these objects were free to say what they liked, but they were also owned and rarely listened to. my mom knew objects could tell on you. thats why she threw all my shit away. now my objects do tell on me, and on other tidier crimes: like value, or like art. this entrenches them in an apocalypse they define for themselves, they lived through it and bear the scars of it, i give them the benefit of the doubt. in facilitating their relocation to the scrutinized commons of the gallery, i provide a platform for them to point the finger.
in this show i am showing you my best party trick, i am too lazy to learn a dj program so i improvise using google chrome tabs, people say i am good, i say i have adhd. in this show i am showing you my best art trick, i am too lazy to learn how to make real sculptures so i improvise using objects immediately surrounding the space, people say i am good, i say i am an athlete.
it is easy to stack sounds together for me, they are mostly pieces i have heard before in passing, or really love to hear, or that i am willing to take a risk on because they have good ear feel and sound nice. it is easy to stack objects together for me, they are mostly objects i have seen before in passing, or really love to see, or that i am willing to take a risk on because they have good hand feel and look nice.
at the end of this show these things will be disposed of, and that is the nicest part of working like this for me, i never make a mess i just move a mess from one place to another.
Ser Serpas (b. 1995, Los Angeles) received her B.A. in visual arts at Columbia University (2017). Solo and two-person exhibitions include what we need is another body, Truth and Consequences, Geneva (2019); Stars are Blind, LC Queissier (with Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi), Tbilisi (2019); you were created to be so young (self-harm and exercise), LUMA Westbau, Zurich (2018); Bare Teeth, Queer Thoughts (with Bri Williams), New York (2018); and Dust Patterns, Current Projects, Miami (2017). Recent group exhibitions include Company Gallery, New York (2019); Swiss Institute, New York; Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Performance Space, New York (all 2018); and Karma International, Los Angeles (2017). Serpas lives and works between New York and Zurich.
Curated by Franziska Sophie Wildförster
Assistant: Asta von Mandelsloh
Opening: Thursday, April 25, 6–9pm.
Opening hours: Thu–Sun, 3–8pm