Michael Asher, film screening Stephan Pascher, Lucky Chairs
Organized by Rhea Anastas, Karin Schneider, and Jeff Preiss
Michael Asher, film screening, October 30, 6:30 pm
Stephan Pascher, Lucky Chairs, October 30 – November 27, 2005
Presenting a pair of works for exhibition and screening:
Stephan Pascher's Lucky Chairs, 255 arrangements of 1-5 chairs taken 1-5 at a time, 2002-2005
A new print of Michael Asher's 1973 16mm film (screened once in Boston), to be screened once at Orchard
Lucky Chairs is the first solo exhibition to be realized at Orchard. The exhibition continues the gallery's interest in reconsidering transgenerational relationships between artists, premiering a work alongside a screening of a reconstructed historical work–in effect presenting a solo exhibition with the insertion of a second artist's work. In contemporary art's economy of the new, exhibitions often separate artists by degrees of cultural capital or segregate recent work from the overly freighted category of "the historical." Within the installation of the exhibition, Lucky Chairs is presented in the front of the gallery using existing gallery furniture to support the work's five slide projectors. Asher's film is screened as a one-time event on a white wall in the gallery's rear office.
Lucky Chairs began with an invitation Pascher received in 2002 to travel to Chicago as an artist-in-residence at Columbia College. He conceived the work from the institutional and material conditions he found there, balancing and stacking the excess of institution-issue chairs in his dormitory apartment. The piece was first developed as a private performance for the camera, and later displayed as a series of projections of digitally produced slides in the same apartment. With the performer absented from the scene and his actions displaced through time and the slide photograph, the subject of Lucky Chairs emerges as a tension between doubt and belief in the apparatuses of the camera and projector. It is almost as if the work were made by the room and its chairs, the truth of their positions and surfaces held together by the digital process itself.
How Pascher thought the questions of what and how to compose in 2002-03 marks a sympathetic difference from Asher's approach to 16mm film. In 1973 Asher was invited by Paul McMahon to make a work for his series of one-day events at Project, Inc., in Boston. He started with the idea of working with film projection for the first time. His actions amounted to an artistic process of decomposition. Asher began with the defining material conditions of film, subtracted the camera, and worked with only the chemical and development process. Due to local circumstances, the film was screened for an audience of around four individuals in a vacant dormitory room at a private high school where McMahon lived at the time. The gray-white film's light and absence of pictorial content cast the situation as the representation: the room's architecture, available furniture, and inhabitants were illuminated, as cinematic expectations were differently staged by Asher for the art-film spectator.
Lucky Chairs was made in 2002 by Stephan Pascher and first exhibited in "Private View" at the Plymouth Court residence hall, Columbia College, Chicago, January, 2003. The installation "Lucky Chairs," 2002-2005, is presented in New York for the first time at Orchard. The single carousel "catalogue" version of Lucky Chairs was included in "Mirage," curated by Julie Ault and Martin Beck, at Alexander and Bonin, New York, June 4–July 29, 2005. A new print of Asher's film to match the 1973 print was made by Orchard in 2005 and was screened just once on Sunday, October 30. Organized by Karin Schneider and Rhea Anastas and produced by Jeff Preiss, the film is the second installment in Orchard's program of historical reconstructions.
A new essay by Debra Parr on Lucky Chairs was written on the occasion of the exhibition; several other texts on Lucky Chairs are forthcoming. A new text on Asher's film by Eric de Bruyn, as well as responses by many of those present at the October 30 screening, are also forthcoming. A factual chart documenting technical specificities of Asher's 1973 and 2005 films is being compiled by Karin Schneider.