KAG hoc – CABINET D’AMATEUR
Andrew Robert Hodgson
May 25 – June 4, 2017
Kingston Art Group is pleased to present Cabinet d’Amateur, a solo exhibition by Andrew Robert Hodgson for the KAG Hoc space on Humber Street, Hull.
The phrase ‘cabinet d’amateur’, in French, is archaic. It refers to a collector; a ‘lover of objects’ from the 18th century, pre-public galleries (Hull’s older schools, assumedly, still own these; Hull’s museums developed from these). A curiosity cabinet; a room lined from floor to ceiling with paintings and objects collected. When read as if in English, it evokes not a ‘lover’ of something, but something illegitimate, out of place, ‘amateur’. It is a duality from which this installation draws meaning. It is a collection of authentic works, forgeries and copies collected by varied means. These objects were gifted by the widows of long dead Parisian surrealists, with their fading memories of provenance; collected from the greyer side of Ebay, and dollar bins. Akin the cabinet d’amateur of the Georges Perec novel of the same name it is a fictive construct, or is it?
For this exhibition Hodgson opens a space to explore the interactions of viewer, object and context within the gallery environment. In doing so, he problematises the relation of truth to the empirical. The installation raises questions regarding the relation of artistic expression > object aesthetic > viewer reception. No distinction is made between that which is ‘authentic’, and that which is ‘forged’. In this space, these labels are difficult to clearly ascribe; ‘authenticity’ becomes an open value. As such, this installation explores the power in the interrelation of object and text; context. Each object is accompanied by its descriptive card mimetic of the owner guiding their guests vocally through the cabinet. Just as the owner would point out pieces around the room and describe them by a varied scale of context (supposed creation context, apparent historical context, context of appropriation, context of the fallible human (lies and memory)). Thus, the objects’ facticity becomes reliant on layers of re-presentation. At what layer of presentation does the context itself perhaps overpower the object, or fall apart in anecdote? Raised is a crisis of authenticity of both object, and context, both of which must be considered, accepted or rejected. Indeed, in the cabinet d’amateur, what here is ‘real’, and what is ‘false’? Does the aesthetic communication, or artistic meaning of the object emanate from the object itself, its narration, or the room? And where within this ambiguity does the viewer reside? Where in the interaction of viewer with object and narrative does this ‘authenticity’ become? Upon entering the cabinet, these are questions the viewer is confronted with and perhaps overwhelmed by.
Andrew Robert Hodgson (b. 1988, Hull, England), studied literature, art and theory in London and Paris, he was awarded doctor of literature by Université Paris Est and ENS de Lyon in 2016. He is currently Maître de langue in the Monde Anglophone, at the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III. Hodgson has previously exhibited in the group show Play Time at 1800 S. Sepulveda in Los Angeles. He has published the novel Reperfusion (WPS&B, 2012), a number of shorter prose pieces, poetry and translation.