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Blind Cut

Two young curators contemplate deception through a range of works that question reality

by Karen Day in Culture on 16 January 2012

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In magic, a blind cut refers to when the illusionist appears to shuffle a deck of cards, but in reality, hasn't actually shuffled them at all. This sleight-of-hand trick is also the befitting title of the forthcoming exhibition at NYC's Marlborough Chelsea gallery, a group show curated by Jonah Freeman and Vera Neykov. Tapping revered Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers as its thematic anchor, "Blind Cut" explores the concept of deception in regards to identity, authenticity and originality, through his works and others', each questioning what is real and what is fictional.

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After living for decades as a struggling poet, in 1964 Broodthaers set in plaster 50 copies of a compilation of his poems entitled Pense-Bête, and put them on display at Galerie St Laurent. In the catalog for the exhibition, the Surrealist poet boldly stated, "I, too, wondered if I couldn't sell something and succeed in life...The idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work at once."

Re-framing his poetry as tangible works of art, Broodthaers continued to explore word-object relationships and the meaning of language throughout his short-lived career, often recontextualizing the work of his mentor, Réné Magritte. His diverse oeuvre now spans paintings, sculptural installations, photogrpahy, books and film, but with each medium he muddled the truth in order to expose the truth. "Blind Cut" also looks to another quotation by Broodthaers, which states "A fiction allows us to grasp reality and at the same time that which is veiled by reality."

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A contemporary reflection of this ideology may be found in the work of sculptor Robert Lazzarini, who poetically distorts the familiar by toying with perception. Interested in phenomenology, Lazzarini uses real materials to create fabricated objects which sharply remind the viewer of their mundane existence.

Showing other introspective artists such as Matt Johnson, Anne Collier, Ed Ruscha and more—as well as works from influential movements like Dada and the radical architecture agency Superstudio—"Blind Cut" looks at a perpetually relevant topic with fresh eyes. In the digital age—one where Twitter verification is a measure of authenticity and bloggers post images without any concern for copyright—questions about identity, originality and reality feel like a natural part of conversation, but Freeman and Neykov have compiled a range of works that make the audience reconsider what they see.

"Blind Cut" opens 19 January 2012 at Marlborough Chelsea and runs through 18 February 2012.

More images of work from the show after the jump

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