Jonathan Schipper at Pierogi

“At Any Given Moment”
Exhibition Dates: 16 Nov, 2019—12 Jan, 2020
Opening Reception:
Sunday, 17 November. 6-8pm

Press Release

We are proud to present a solo exhibition of Jonathan Schipper’s recent sculpture and work on paper. These works embody Schipper’s reflections on consumption and consequence or, more precisely, consumption without consideration of consequences, including: increased waste, increased consumption of food, water, and other resources, global warming and climate change, among others. This includes procreation, a global issue since most of us worldwide do it automatically. The exhibition title references a question of how many of us are trying to reproduce at any given moment? How many people on planet Earth are engaging in sex and, at least potentially, procreating?

“We come [into the world] without instructions. We are guided by our desires, needs, wants, feelings. We consume, grow, displace, and use. We build, we fornicate, we procreate, and we populate.  We have discovered hidden instructions built in the fabric of our bodies. We know the letters but we do not understand the text. We are guided through desire built from this hidden language but to what end? Is there a goal or are we just a system destined to burn itself out?”  (Schipper)

This exhibition will consist of a central sculpture including unknown thousands of miniature human figures, 3D printed and clustered on a large incinerated tree trunk in groupings that appear cloud-like and, when viewed closely, can be seen as mass orgies or human struggle. How many figures are in the mass? This is unknown, just as the answer to the central question of this work is unknown. How many people can we know? What do a million people look like? What would the current world population estimate of 7.7 billion look like? Our minds can discern a single person and we can see groups up to perhaps one hundred. After that the group becomes a haze, a cloud, as our cognitive abilities are saturated. How do we learn to understand and be apart from, and a part of, this cloud of human needs desires and actions?

The burnt tree has been consumed by fire and represents consumption—our home, the planet’s resources. It simultaneously resembles a human torso, a victim of its own actions and neglect for consequences. The transformation by fire has also changed the surface of the log into carbon, the basic building block of life.

Schipper has also programmed a laser-engraving machine to burn a series of drawings depicting groupings of figures based on the same digital information as the three-dimensional figures.

Elements of creation and destruction are often combined in Schipper’s work, with a constant being irreversible change over time. What has been noted of a recent installation, Slow Room, could also be said of Detritus, The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle (Car Crash), and Schipper’s other kinetic installations: that “[i]t will subtly move, probably fall, and although organized through a mechanized process, disorder will be reliant on chance. In a memento more of sorts we are reminded that with time, everything changes.” (Katy Diamond Hammer).

This will be Jonathan Schipper’s sixth one-person exhibition at Pierogi and the Boiler with additional off-site projects elsewhere. He received degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA) and the Rinehart School of Sculpture (MFA), and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work has been included in numerous American and international exhibitions such as: “State of the Art” (Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK), the “Guangzhou Triennial 2012” (Guangzhou, China), “The Art of Deceleration” (Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany), “Under Destruction” (Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland), the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Cuba, and solo exhibitions such as: “The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle” (Stuks Art Center, Belgium), “Explosion” (Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Fortworth, TX), and “Cubicle” (Rice University Art Gallery). He was born in California in 1973 and currently lives and works in New York State.