Part I: Denmark

Koh-i-noor Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 6-10th, 2007
Organized by Heidi Hove

Opening Reception: Friday, June 8 at 5:00- 9:00 PM
PowerPoint Performance by Jonn Herschend and Brian Enevoldsen: 8:00 PM

Dybbøsgade 60, 1721 København

Image design by Ryan Thayer (US)

Artists involved: Jimmy Chen (US), Alex Clausen (US), Kara Hearn (US), Jonn Herschend (US), Susan O'Malley (US), Will Rogan (US), and Ryan Thayer (US)

The Deadpan aesthetic usually requires a straight-faced delivery of information. In most cases the information being delivered boarders on the questionable to the completely absurd, but the deliverer of the information must maintain a dead serious composure. There is a beauty to the humanity in this because the information involved has elements of both comedy and tragedy and the viewer has to decide which way to go. Because of this, the viewer becomes a collaborator in the piece. In Laurel and Hardy's 1931 film, the Music Box, the duo is hired to move a piano up a ridiculous amount of stairs and into a house. It is a Sisyphean task for sure because the piano is constantly rolling down the stairs and forcing them to restart their task each time. But they do it and redo it... and redo it until at last they reach the top of the stairs and begin a whole new series of hurdles in order to get the piano delivered into the house. In the end the piano is completely destroyed. Yet they persevere and set it up, nonetheless. Their desire to see the doomed task through to the end is both comic and tragic. And their stone face resolve to complete the task gives nothing away to the viewer.

The works from the seven artists involved in the Deadpan Exchange all revolve around this notion of deadpan. Nothing is given away. And while many of the pieces seem to start out with a completely absurd premise, the artists, working like dead serious piano movers, create works that are firmly rooted somewhere between comedy and tragedy.