303 Gallery is proud to present our fourth exhibition of new works by Ceal Floyer. Floyer's phenomenological readymades, often subject to bewilderingly simple semiotic inversions that have the power to re-route perception, have made her a key figure in post-conceptualism from the late '90s to the present.
For this exhibition, Floyer presents new works in video, photography, and sculpture. In "Plughole" (2017), a static camera is trained on a standard 6-hole bathroom sink drain. The video depicts a stream of water that is redirected in an attempt to fill each hole perfectly with the flow of the faucet, moving from one hole to the next. The drain's function as a receptacle for water becomes a kind of short-circuit, as water itself becomes the material that plugs its own pathway. This transference of states is a recurring motif in some of Floyer's most effective work with manmade interventions into natural experience, as seen in her now seminal "Light" (1994) or "Overhead Projection" (2006). Simple phenomena are exploited for their most basic physical malleability, and coaxed to create counterintuitive or impossible paradoxes laid bare and envisioned in real time. "Contacts" (2015), a set of 128 digital drawings, uses the contacts list from Floyer's phone to generate geometric shapes tracing the paths between the numbers on her keypad. The precision and economy of the gesture hint at a taxonomy for the imaginary, as these numbers are almost never dialed as such, yet their pathways still feel strangely relevant. Images replace numbers which replace people, and in a blinking instant of disorientation, the system is thrown into chaos. "Saw" (2015), transforms the gallery into a cartoon nightmare, as a saw almost completely charts its circular path along the concrete floor. The saw could essentially be tracing a portal under the conception of Floyer's practice - formal elegance, astute wit, and perceptual disorientation combine to create a new type of distorted metaphysics.
Also on view extending the length of the gallery is "Domino Effect", a narrow row of black wooden blocks lined up to form a kind of miniature wall in the space. Set in a tight row, the domino effect (of these pieces falling onto each other in a beautifully cascading mathematical arrangement) becomes not only a physical impossibility but a symbolic one as well, as these small wooden pieces in a way cease to be dominoes at all according to their current configuration. An object's elucidatory intention gone haywire is seen again in "Newton's Cradle," a typical balance ball / pendulum set that you would find in an elementary science class, or as a stress relieving ‘toy’ classically found on an executive’s desk. The gambit in this case is that all the balls are tangled into a post-stress knot. Again Floyer subverts the object's ability to explicate itself, instead fashioning it into a kind of allegorical straitjacket that is nonetheless elegant in its own new permutation. "Conversation Piece" bookends the exhibition, a set of quotation marks bracketing the gallery space at the entrance and exit, not only poking fun at the mounting of an exhibition, but the rhetoric around it - including the reading of this text.
Ceal Floyer was born in 1968 and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She completed a BFA at Goldsmiths College, London, UK (1994). Solo exhibitions include Aspen Art Museum (2016), Aargauer Kunsthaus, Switzerland (2016), Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2015), Kolnischer Kunstverein, Germany (2013), DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2011), Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), USA (2010), Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2009), KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2009) and MADRE, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy (2008). Among many group exhibitions, she has participated in the Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016), the Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong, China (2012) and documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012). She won the Preis der Nationalgalerie Fur Junge Kunst, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2007) and was nominated for the Nam June Paik Art Centre Prize, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (2009).