Critics’ Picks

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, paper cutouts, wood, glue, dimensions variable.

Geoffrey Farmer, Boneyard, 2013, paper cutouts, wood, glue, dimensions variable.

New York

Geoffrey Farmer

Casey Kaplan
121 West 27th Street
October 30–December 20, 2014

Hundreds of cutouts from a 1960s Italian book series featuring masterpieces of sculpture have been propped up on a round table that spans eighteen feet in diameter in Geoffrey Farmer’s latest exhibition. There is Desiderio da Settignano’s Bust of a Young Woman, Giambologna’s Appennino, Constantin Brancusi’s Maiastra, Michelangelo’s David, and Antoine Le Moiturier’s hooded monks, nudes, medieval saints, small children, and tiny animals. Part of the installation Boneyard, 2013, the paper figurines stand as sculptures would, intimating the flatness of being Photoshopped in space—a slideshow of Western sculpture from antiquity to modernism in the round.

In the next room, a more traditional slideshow, Look in My Face; My Name Is Might-Have-Been, I Am Also Called No-More, Too-Late, Farewell, 2013, shuffles through political snapshots, anonymous portraits, ethnographic studies, and then-genre scenes of work, leisure, agriculture, and industry. A history is told by the shifting film stock—sepia to Kodachrome; black-and-white to dye transfer—the tonal qualities reflecting the technological changes in film as new methods for printing enter the mass market. The clamor of disjointed percussion accompany the slideshow, alternating between a synced pattern with the images (footfalls on the stairs) and random sounds guided by a computer algorithm.

Farmer’s subject matter is time, he states, cut and reordered. This nonlinearity entices a contemplation of the looming past alongside a suspended present, which is made acute by the juxtaposition of cacophonous noises and the disquieting muteness of the photographic artifact.