Liam Gillick, Phantom Structures on Artnews
LIAM GILLICK AT CASEY KAPLAN
By Alex Greenberger
In the 20 years since he burst onto the international art scene, Liam Gillick has been loosely affiliated with the YBAs and the relational aesthetics contingent, but this British artist doesn’t fall cleanly into either group. His work is more cerebral than that of other YBAs, and denser and more grounded than the relational-aesthetics adherents. So where does Gillick fit? The simple answer is: nowhere.
As this Casey Kaplan exhibition, titled “Phantom Structures,” makes clear, Gillick’s work was ahead of its time—more like what younger artists are doing today than what his mid-career colleagues are producing.The artist’s predilection for sans-serif gibberish, printed here in the form of vinyl wall text, persists, as do his Donald Judd–inspired Plexiglas sculptures. The pristine coldness of the installation evokes a dysfunctional office space.
Gillick has written extensively about capitalism, production, and consumption, and it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of art theory when thinking about his work. One could spend hours pondering whether Gillick is referring to Constructivism or Minimalism, or whether his text works are intended to be critical of corporate language.