New York

Ger Van Elk

Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

Among artists who use photographs, the Dutchman Ger van Elk has a particular role. He was one of the early focussed practitioners: at the end of the ’60s, when his compatriot Jan Dibbets began his perspective corrections and Conceptualists flocked to a new-found tool, van Elk was already at his work. But he was never the medium’s convert. For him photography was not an “accurate” means but one of sharp transmission—a medium whose realist pretensions and cultural force made it both usable and suspect. He juxtaposed it in his work with other modes of image-making, playing different representations against one another.

Throughout the ’70s these plays with reality and its encoding forms were phrased in paintings, assembled sculpture, environments; films, and highly ersatz objects, all rendered with cheeky comments and witty asides. If they seemed, at the time, unserious, and unshaped to eyes

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