Jason Dodge at Kunstverein Nürnberg
For his solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, Jason Dodge has combined new and older works that tell a new story rather like a recombinating of given words. For the most part, Jason Dodge’s works comprise a title and a combination of a few or individual, familiar items from everyday life. Apart from the objects and their titles, the rooms are empty. Sometimes these objects are so banal and familiar, such as a flute, a light bulb or a blanket that you might stroll by completely unaware that there »is« anything there or that something is actually »taking place« – it’s like a light waft of wind on the neck: Dodge’s work requires a great deal of attentiveness and openness in order to notice its presence and perceive its aura at all.
The title is an important part of the work in this regard and can be compared to the way in which the material of a sculpture functions. With the brief description of the elements – sometimes the titles sound almost like haiku – which cannot be seen, or the action to be carried out or that can be carried out by the object, Dodge effectively renders something visible and tangible that in reality can only be felt. What happens when poison is hidden in a bass flute and what if a bell is mounted on the chimney sweep’s broom and the sweep uses it to clean chimneys? Objects and words act as the stimulus for a sculptural idea here: the invisible element is supplemented in the thoughts of every viewer, thus completing the sculpture.
Jason Dodge’s works play upon the absence of concept and material, as indeed they do in this exhibition at the Kunstverein Nürnberg, Absence can adopt a variety of forms. It becomes »visible« and tangible in
footprints, tracks or odours of something or someone, by a missing element in the room, such as the light or heating, through the emptiness of a place or the invisibility of an object named in the title. At first glance, the exhibition rooms seem to be almost empty, but they slowly begin to fill up through the very consciousness of the presence of something absent – something that is mentally present: shapes, images, places, smells, feelings, people with whom we have a direct personal connection, arise in the mind – present absentees so to speak. Jason Dodge’s works do not attempt to represent anything or to convey a concept, or indeed, to evoke a fictional world, rather they present reality and, in a broader sense, they refer to the poetry of reality which is very personal to each and every one of us.