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Liz Glynn at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

A selection of Technological Tool Racksby Liz Glynn will be presented in the gallery’s vitrine space at 529 West 21st Street from September 7 through October 12, 2019. For the past decade, Glynn has worked in sculpture, installation, and performance, examining the ways in which cultural objects of the past embody or confront power dynamics, social structures, and systems of value. Begun in 2016, Glynn’s Technological Toolseries engages the history of early human technology and material production, challenging the notion of progress itself.

In each of the works on view, a set of related gypsum objects are mounted to a powder-coated steel panel. Primitively sculpted by hand out of paper mache, scanned, and output with a 3-D printer, the ghostly white tools appear in stark contrast to their high-chroma, polished backings. “I almost think of myself as a materialist philosopher,” Glynn states. “I work with ideas through material […] Every piece has a different process, with different cycles of production.”[1]Bearing evidence of their handmade beginnings, the unique works serve as an extension of the body, exploring subjectivity in artistic production. The “tools” are also marked by a second “hand,” as evidenced in the imperfect striations produced by the 3-D printer. Titled with infinitive verbs emphasizing action—such as To Sow, To Cut, orTo Write—the works categorize tools, which date from prehistory up to the industrial revolution, according to purpose or methods of productivity. Resembling ossified specimens in a display case, the series invites deliberation on the uncertainty of objects, labor, and authorship in the increasingly virtual world: “What will it be like to make stuff in the digital age, and what will happen to all of the stuff that has been made up to this point in history?”[2]Glynn asks. Displaced from their intended functions, the objects become ghosts of their prior forms. In the wake of digital commerce, robotic manufacturing, and the rise of the service sector, the Technological Tool Racks underscore the abstract and capricious nature of value, money and time.
At Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
until 12 October 2019

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