Galeria Luciana Brito

Allan McCollum - Works 1980-2008: A Selection

LB News
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Allan McCollum’s solo exhibition, to be held from August 26 through October 9, 2009,  will take up the whole of Luciana Brito Gallery – his exclusive representative in Brazil.  As this will be his first solo in this country, the exhibition is meant to give audiences a general view of McCollum’s art through his most significant works:


Plaster Surrogates
Perfect Vehicles
The Dog from Pompei
Each and Every One of You
The Shapes Project
Surrogates on Location


Allan McCollum uses mass production methods in different ways to create massive numbers of objects that are, yet, unique. His message is: there is nothing more common than being unique; after all, each one in this planet is unique. His work shows details of daily life that are apparently fortuitous - pieces of information that go unnoticed - and manages to catch our attention by replicating them in large numbers.


This is the artist’s field of research since the 1980’s when he created Glossies and Plaster Surrogates. In Glossies he expresses his interest in photography for the first time. Rectangular shaped, black watercolors practically cover the whole surface, except for slim white margins. Although all apparently alike, each texture is unique. The paper is finally covered by a plastic laminate that gives it a photography-like shiny, resined surface. Plaster Surrogates are “generic paintings”, each with a black center, white mat, and frames in black or brown.  Through the two series, Allan McCollum shows that the aura of the artwork – allegedly lost through mechanical replication – may be retrieved from its very repetition. They are canonic syntheses of photography and painting.  A slideshow ofSurrogates on Location – snapshots of television scenes with framed dark objects that resemble Plaster Surrogates –will be on display.


Perfect Vehicles will also be exhibited: vases that have been created in different colors. Although identical in shape, they cannot be grouped by pairs if based on number and color. Drastically dysfunctional and sealed, they refer to funeral caskets. On this, McCollum declares: “My work probably makes it evident that I suffer from my concern regarding absence and death.  Copies are always about something that is absent, and in that condition, they always carry a feeling of mourning, of death, or loss… (...) I came to the point of thinking that a mold works automatically as a symbol for the original model that is absent, for instance, in a uniquely visceral way”.  One of the best illustrations for this is The Dog from Pompei. Twelve copies of the “chained dog” exhibited at Vesuvius Museum, in Pompei, Italy, will be exhibited.  The dog was suffocated by volcanic ashes during the Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D.  The dog’s body left a cavity on the ground after deterioration.  This natural “mold” was discovered in 1874, and filled with plaster. 


Each and Every One of Youis a compilation of the 1,200 most popular names in the United States (600 names of men, 600 of women).  The names (digital prints on paper) are arranged in wood boxes following popularity ranking, as files for consultation.  McCollum’s intention is to evoke feelings and memories through the simplest and vaguest of all means – names.


Finally, The Shapes Project may result in a distinctive graphic identity for the entire world population. Using his home computer and Adobe Illustrator, McCollum combines 300 options for upper, mid, and lower parts, all made up of a series of curves and contours, and puts them together in groups from four to six to create each of the shapes. The Shapes Project can create 31 billion different shapes (enough to supply the world population in the expected peak moment in 2050, estimated to be between 8 and 20 billion). So far, 214,000,000 shapes have been “set aside for creative experimentation”, says McCollum, who selected several wooden pieces for the exhibition.

27.07.2009 to 09.09.2009


opening on August 26, 2009
tuesday - friday, from 10 AM to 7 PM
saturday, from 11 AM to 5 PM
free admission