When I woke up, there was a note in my pocket…



  • When I woke up, there was a note in my pocket…

    Jason Dodge

    Exhibition view



When I woke up, there was a note in my pocket…

September 10 – October 24, 2009

“There is only this world, and this world.” – Michael Dickman

Things can have a history that we can’t see.  In these physical things, we exercise our imagination and forensics to understand their history.  A name of one woman is printed on paper, divided into syllables, and carried by teams of homing pigeons over hundreds of miles, her maiden name from western Ohio to New York and her married name from Krakow to Berlin.  Her name, temporarily cut into parts, each syllable connected to a pair of wings and one beating heart.

An astronomer, a meteorologist, an ornithologist, a geologist, and a civil engineer cut pockets from their trousers.  In a stack, they lay in order of the altitude imagined of each profession, from the stars through clouds and birds, mountains and bridges.

Looking at these things (a name or trouser pockets) is the starting point in discovering the work and ideas of Jason Dodge. He displays an element before us that becomes a key to something else, enabling a connection for the viewer to envision on their own.  These things are presented much like words in a piece of writing, like when we read the word forest, we might think of trees, birds, or insects.  But unlike words, what we are presented with is actual, without metaphor – they have force and weight that can only be completed by our projection of the humanness of these things.  Ultimately, Dodge relies on the viewer to complete the work and that can be the only way for the work to exist.

The physical material in Jason Dodge’s work is often ordinary.  Dodge’s interests lie in the potential narratives that are formed from what we can project on these things.  These things are ways of connecting us to people, to lives, to the natural world, and scientific phenomena.  A furnace, for example, is connected to gas, water and electricity in the basement and from this fixed point touches the people who live in the building.  Attached to the furnace is a complex network of pipes, and wires flowing water, electricity, and gas, connecting us from our homes, and filtering outward to power generators and storage facilities, gas manes and valves, reservoirs and the Hudson River, aquifers and dams, rainwater and oceans.  From these far away places the water eventually finds its way back to us, to our bodies and to our skin. When the furnace breaks there comes a moment of disconnect.  The electricity and water cease, the gas is disconnected and cold comes throughout the building.  The removable parts are then replaced, a new furnace is installed, and ultimately the old furnace becomes fractured like lost things.

As the title of the exhibition suggests, we are left with a note that possibly explains a series of events, but do we really know what happened?  We are faced with a broken fragmented furnace and are left to wonder where it came from and who the people were that were affected by its removal.  We read the name of a person. Who is this person, where does she live?  Her location could be no more to us than an address on an envelope or a pinprick on a map.  We could know her, have walked on the same street, or shared the same air.  We use our knowledge and experiences of these things to understand them and we use our imagination to see them.

Jason Dodge, the first major monograph of Dodge’s work will accompany a survey exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover in February, 2010 and at La Galerie in Noisy le Sec, France.  He recently had a solo project at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Germany.  Current group exhibitions include “Plus Général En Particular,” Frac des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France, “The Quick and the Dead,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, and “Scorpios Garden,” at Temporäre Kunsthalle in Berlin where the artist lives and works.