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Ken Okiishi

gesture / data (micro thumbnail scale, boxed) (2014)

New York-based artist Ken Okiishi’s recent work tests – and often overwhelms – the technical limits of how we view and circulate art now. Offered here is the latest iteration of his “gesture/data” series, which translates into a portable, personal handheld object of the larger wall-mounted AbEx video “painting” he presented earlier this year in New York at the Whitney Biennial and at Reena Spaulings Fine Art.

For Okiishi, screens are canvases to be (over)loaded with layers of digital and material information. To create this edition, he began by filming the “no signal” blue screen of a common CRT monitor in HD. Given the discrepancy in reception/transmission rates, the videocamera, seeing more than it should, distorted the original Klein-esque monochrome recording a pixelated array of “too much information”. Compressed as an MP4 file (the current standard for video sharing), the video is presented here on a smartphone-size screen housed by an empty box. The surface of each device has been directly handpainted “by the artist” in green chroma key paint—a material used to knock out backgrounds in film postproduction so that new imagery can be grafted in. Okiishi, however, applies this paint chiefly to reassert the void, and without the intention or even possibility of inserting any image in its place.

His painterly gesture thus destroys the digital image and with it, the data’s carrier, the screen. Like a music box, this piece operates only when open, the full spectacle of the stage/art gallery configured specifically for personal viewing.

Chroma Key video paint on screen embedded in box, HD transferred to MP4 (color, silent), closed: 16 × 22.3 × 5 cm, open: 36 × 22.3 × 5.5 cm, Edition: 100 + 20 A.P., numbered and signed inside; € 350.– plus shipping.