David Price is an artist and novelist based in Stockholm. His solo exhibition Into the Field includes the work of G.Leddington and Andy Roche, and the words of Koen Sels and Anna Tebelius; this expansion of contributors is indicative of Price’s understanding of art as a solitary activity that benefits from the selective input of others. In particular, G. Leddington’s intermittently scatting sound sculpture provides the show’s soundtrack by adding, in Price’s words, ‘a ventriloquial Bartleby stammer’.
His own works in the show display a calculated simplicity: a printed patch of liquorice, words written in coffee granules and encased in fired glass, and a film panning across images on paper. Price’s work focuses on the gaps between things: between an artwork and its representation in another medium, and in fiction. The translation from one idiom to another also signals an exploration of different contexts in which to situate the artwork.
But the activity of making remains important, since the works are the embodiment of ideas. Thus the process and the time of its reception represents a kind of dwelling or tarrying. According to the writer Harold Schweizer ‘the time of a work of art is a delay of duration, a certain hesitation, the tarrying of time, the detour of the sweep of historical time where the historical admits its injustice to the moment and to the particular thing.’
A reflection on materiality is central in a body work that might initially appear largely conceptual – the process of making allows for touch, for actions rooted moment by moment; artist David Noonan argues: ‘It is important the work is handmade even though there are mechanical aspects to the process. I like accidents, mistakes, and unplanned things that become part of the finished piece.’
Processes are invariably bathetic in their repetitive banality, and Into the Field abounds with subtle, self-deprecating humour. The visual gag and the in-joke are perhaps the humblest units of knowledge necessary for an understanding of art. We imagine that something is temporarily postponed, which will be revealed in time. It is for this reason that artists delight in circular humour, where a story is told over and again, as in the video work of Bruce Nauman or Rodney Graham. Our hope for a satisfactory ending is always thwarted, while a definitive reading is endlessly postponed. Accordingly, when questioned about the meaning of his work, Price stated that he was unaware that it had to have one.
This text is an excerpt from Present Things by Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley from the publication Into the Field that accompanies the exhibition.