Tom Sachs: Islandia
Text by Vernard R. Lewis, Cheryl Kaplan.
Islandia: Further Explorations of Man's Contempt for Nature features Tom Sachs's most recent body of work, accompanied by a scientific article on termites. Sachs is not part of a current movement in contemporary art; rather he has developed his own artistic language. He is particularly interested in the function, the form and the essence of everyday common objects. In the manner of a bricoleur, he expresses a very personal connection to these "things"--dissects, reconstructs and appropriates them by handcrafting meticulous personal replicas thereof. Consumerism, corporate identity, cultural imperialism, technological progress, identity (and the loss of it), the relationship of survival and destruction are all at the heart of Tom Sachs' sculpture and drawings. The work collected here exposes the genetics and behavior of technology, using refrigeration, chemicals, insects, corporations and a trash can, among other leftovers, as a way to mirror and diagram the push/pull of physics. Sachs is interested in acts of displacement, where one thing, person or company overrides or attempts to consume another. In re-presenting common items like a refrigerator, an air-conditioner and a Hooter's menu, Sachs stages these objects not only as visual propaganda, but as an indication of a failed promise. But what should that promise have been and why are we left with such degradation? As Sachs reveals, in a world that's no longer analog, "human traces have been erased."