Zin Taylor

06.06.11

Left: Cover of Zin Taylor’s Growth (2011). Right: A spread from Growth.


Zin Taylor’s latest exhibition, titled “The Units,” examines how he approaches information as a material to produce “units” of thought. Presenting work from the past six years, the show is on view at the Ursula Blickle Stiftung, a private foundation in southern Germany, until July 10.

I USE THE TERM UNITS to describe the translation of ideas about a subject into a form about a subject. Units are what exist in physical space after the thinking and abstracting settles into shape. They are a way of handling information. The insinuation is that a thing, like a narrative, is made of many units—like how letters are used to produce words, words are used to produce a sentence, and then a statement.

Within the three floors of the show, I visually “talk” about a garden, a street corner in Antwerp, an underground tunnel in Scotland, knives, hands, and a derelict bakery––relatively public subjects, nothing too rarified. My responses translated into a series of sculptural forms––examples of a working language displayed in space. Throughout the hallways and in the staircase there are drawings, photographs, and small objects that suggest a structural origin for the individual works contained within each of the five rooms. They are rules yet to inherit a subject, and they are floating––like a ghost in a room. It’s as if these smaller, more formal works, are watching their larger cousins installed within the spaces, observing what they will eventually grow into. I like to think about growth as describing the additive qualities that occur when a subject is addressed with intent. It’s what happens as the by-product of intentionality, a kind of phenomenological authorship. Address a subject, and that subject grows. It takes up more space, occupies new areas, speaks to things it didn’t before.

On the third floor of the building, a lofty attic houses the central work for this show, an artist’s book titled Growth. Published by Sternberg Press and the Ursula Blickle Stiftung, and designed by Boy Vereecken of Slavs and Tatars, the book consists of writings by Dan Adler, Dieter Roelstraete, Esperanza Rosales, Mark von Schlegell, and myself, independently addressing growth in a way relative to what this term could mean. Five types of narrative writing are employed: art-historical analysis, philosophic prose, narrative nonfiction, science fiction, and abstract whimsy. The Stiftung typically produces a catalogue for each of the four exhibitions it mounts per year. I felt that to make a catalogue at this point would be akin to producing a tombstone for myself, with texts eulogizing what I had done. I wanted to produce a book that could potentially do something, which someone would want to read regardless of who it was about––a book where the intention is a projection forward, not a recount of the past. The book just “is,” the way many of my other sources just “are.” There are no rules to follow here. It’s a book of material, designed to be material, to be used, consumed, et cetera . . . it’s a unit.

— As told to Lauren O’Neill-Butler