los-angeles

Erika Suderburg

SITE Gallery

The general persuasiveness of post-Modern critiques of Modernism have tended to blind us to the complexities and philosophical richness of Enlightenment thought. Opening up a productive dialogue with Denis Diderot, author of the highly influential 18th-century Encyclopédie; ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, Erika Suderburg’s complex curatorial/art project returns us respectfully—if with humor and a critical eye—to the exhaustive archival logic of the Enlightenment.

The project, an ongoing compendium of boxes that negotiate the obsessive categories of the Encyclopédie in various ways, consists at this point of 121 pieces by almost as many artists, including a number by Suderburg herself, attributed in the accompanying Index to “Sophie Volland,” Diderot’s mistress. The installations are augmented by a brilliantly conceived “anticatalogue,” a tiny cardboard box

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