Gedi Sibony by Anthony Huberman

BOMB 93 Fall 2005
093 Fall 2005 1024X1024

New York Live Arts presents

Marjani Forte
Nov 15-19


Sib 05

Untitled, 2005 Steel, sticks, rug, and wood filler.

Thank God for humor. Part of its genius is that it crops up in places we don’t expect it: tragic moments, serious ideas, simple shapes, failures. Those who know how to use humor have a way of revealing its ubiquity; its architecture is without walls. A cousin to logic, humor exists outside truth or falsehood—but it is also logic’s opposite, in that humor feeds on the irrational and gives breathing room to the imagination. Appropriately, Wittgenstein famously wrote that a serious philosophical text could be written in the form of jokes. Like philosophy, he also said, humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.

Sib 07

In its parts and with its attributes, 2005, cardboard, staircase tread, sticks and silver paint.

In the language of humor, punch lines reveal that we always assume too much; with a slight readjustment of the cognitive frame, the expected can suddenly become the unexpected, or, conversely, the ridiculous plausible. Gedi Sibony’s work asks us to consider our assumptions about art and the sculptural project: the artist proposes as sculpture a piece of folded industrial carpet, stained with isolated spots of spray paint, squeezed behind a glass door. He constructs a temporary spatial alignment of found bricks, a crane holding up a ladder, a dead tree—and the Empire State Building, visible in the distance.

Sib 01

Some Essential Parts in Temporary Alignment, 2002, crane, ladder, sapling.

He presents us with the vertical and diagonal lines of a pre-existing wall’s metal-stud structure, dotted with bits of Sheetrock caught around screws. These objects seem airborne and on the run, not having quite reached the safe landing pad of sculpture. In these works, Sibony challenges us to find comfort in the uncomfortable, to locate the complete in the incomplete. Like that of a comic genius, Sibony’s work remains always vulnerable to serendipity, caught in the suspense of whether or not it will emerge victorious. In his creative process, a successful decision is one that reveals its own shortcomings and engenders the next decision, a circular journey that echoes that of a comedian whose solutions to problems inevitably lead him back where he began, exposing as ridiculous the effort to escape in the first place. Sibony places his trust in the untrustworthy.

Sib 06

Disguised as Material Components, 2005, cardboard box, carpet, garbage bag, hollow core door, MDF, packing tape, plastic, sticks, woodfiller, Installation view, PS1, New York.

Comic misdirection, intuitive decisions, reckless risk-taking, physical near-impossibilities, escape hatches, perceptual glitches, confused identities, silence, mistakes. All of which leads us, of course, to Buster Keaton. Keaton’s 1921 short silent film The Goat (one of Sibony’s favorites) chronicles the actor fleeing always-imminent capture and performing an endless series of escapes. In one maneuver after another, Keaton brilliantly dupes his pursuer with crafty illusions, daring physical feats, witty deceptions, favorable circumstances and too-frequent bouts of dumb luck. The impossible being possible is funny. In a similar spirit of ingenuity, imagination, hope, delight, simplicity, disappointment, defiance and comedy, Sibony turns dead ends into loose ends.

Sib 02

untitled, 2005, carpet and spray paint. Installation view, Wrong Gallery, New York.

Anthony Huberman is the curator of Sculpture Center in New York.

Michelle Segre by huma bhabha
Related
What Objects Can Do: on Jiro Takamatsu by William Corwin
692153101 08222017 Jiro Takamutsu 01

A new look at the actions, drawings, and sculpture of the late Japanese artist.

Stephen Collier & Michael St. John
Collier Stephen 01 Bomb 134

“Stephen and I went drinking and eating one night from Canal Street to Esplanade (the length of the French quarter). We spent hours talking about New Orleans and art, both of which I love.”

Abraham Cruzvillegas by Haegue Yang
Cruzvillegas 1

Before I met Abraham Cruzvillegas, more than once I’d heard curator Clara Kim mention in passing that he was a special person. This piqued my curiosity.

Originally published in

BOMB 93, Fall 2005

Featuring interviews with Arturo Herrera and Josiah McElheny, Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray, Lincoln Perry, Anthony Downey and Yinka Shonibare, Eliot Weinberger and Forrest Gander, Lionel Shriver, Noah Baumbach and Jonathan Lethem, George Lewis and Jeff Parker, and David Rabe and Evangeline Morphos. 

Read the issue
093 Fall 2005 1024X1024