DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance) at Bellwether

DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance) at Bellwether


October 10, 2006


(Will Never Annul Chance)

Curated by Joao Ribas

and Becky Smith

October 12-November 11, 2006

Walead Beshty

Peter Coffin

Elspeth Diederix

Marius Engh

Daniel Lefcourt

David Lieske

Lisa Oppenheim

Eileen Quinlan

Amanda Ross-Ho

Sara VanDerBeek

Melanie Willhide

Spencer Young

Bellwether is pleased to present DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance), an exhibition of new currents in conceptual photography, curated by Joao Ribas and Becky Smith. The exhibition is part of a three-show series entitled The Mallarmé Propositions, which addresses key themes in current artistic practice.

Photography has undergone two major shifts in the past few decades: the loss of its objective relationship to reality, and the medium’s increasing distance from modernism through its use in conceptual art. Recent conceptual photography has amended these two directions with a break from the way conceptual artists relegated photography to architectonic and instrumental uses, often merely to illustrate, dematerialize or record.

What results is a form of conceptual photography that approaches the medium as a poetic and expressive process. While digital technology has transformed the medium’s pictorial potential, supposedly bringing it closer to the logic of painting, this new kind of photographic practice engages a conceptual space specific to the medium. DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance) aims to contextualize a set of artists–many not yet associated with each other–that approach photography as an ideational, anti-mimetic, yet decidedly formal area of artistic practice.

Whether by treating a photograph as an instantiation of an idea or an object–rather than its surrogate–or as a distinct image-making method, this kind of photography moves beyond the notion of a photograph as illustrative, as a ‘picture’ of the real, or as a mere supplement for ephemeral and time-based art.

Replacing many of the traditional concerns of photographic practice, such work also confronts the reductive understanding of the medium’s role in the wake of conceptual art. With an active investment in the epistemological, socio-cultural, and material aspects of photography itself, and by intersecting it with a variety of disciplines, the artists included in DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance) develop a diverse set of issues intrinsic to photography moving beyond the notion of a photograph as illustrative, or as a mere supplement for ephemeral and time-based art.

The Mallarmé Propositions follow from the poet’s declaration that “everything is summed up in Aesthetics and Political Economy.” Following DICE THROWN (Will Never Annul Chance) will be Aspects, Forms, Figures an exhibition focusing on the numinous as a kind of ontology or ‘deep’ materialism—-as in Marx’s claim about grotesque ideas dreamed up by tables—and In Defense of Ardor, which will propose ardor as an ethical and political imperative.


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October 10, 2006

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