The exhibition has been produced in three connected parts – in Paul Buck’s own words, it exists as ‘a re-appearance, a fresh breeze’, and as ‘a gathering of friendships’ (Kathy Acker, David Barton, John Cussans, Tatjana Doll, Margarita Gluzberg, Sophie von Hellermann, Susan Hiller, Liane Lang, Lucy McKenzie, Perle Petit, Richard Prince, Clunie Reid and Claude Royet-Journoud).
The first section of the project is a reworking of an earlier installation that took place at Cabinet Gallery in London exactly twenty years ago. Based on his published text Disappearing, Buck’s initial project in 1992 transferred ideas of language created for the pages of a book into the environment of the gallery space. Working directly onto the wall meant that little more than a handful of fragments were retained from this initial presentation, however, the rescued elements have been used along with photographic evidence to sensitively respond to the site of Focal Point Gallery, to make a fresh reading of the same transcript in the light of the intervening years within the appropriate setting of a gallery in a public library. In this second iteration, Buck has made the former text reappear; where the essay on the page doesn’t fundamentally change for any reader, the words on the wall become a new work, a ‘refreshed’ text, to use current parlance.
The second part of this exhibition stems directly from Buck’s involvement in the Focal Point Gallery / Hayward Touring exhibition, ‘Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot’. The card that he drew at random from the deck was The Queen of Pentacles, and Buck has extended his interpretation of the card for this project, together with notions of generosity, a theoretical stance that has been close to his heart and working practice since the late 1960s. Starting with simple lines of thought written on the page, his intent was to find a way to reflect on language in a much simpler and naked way on the gallery wall, as a poet and artist working with language. To Buck, text has always been ready for revitalisation, and in this section he has brought in the young writer and artist Perle Petit, a fresh breeze, whose various interests enable her to weave, explore, exploit and tighten images as she sees fit.
The third element of this enterprise, while founded on a simple idea, also brings together a complex reflection on ideas of generosity, the gift and views of disappearance. In many ways, the contributors to this section chose themselves, in that each has engaged with Buck and his work as writer, editor, poet and artist for some years. While certain works by these contributors had already been made or started, others were developed specifically with this installation in mind, and revisit correspondence and communication. The artist who has the longest friendship with Buck is Susan Hiller. With their relationship stretching back to the late 1960s, Hiller’s piece dates from 1974, and takes on another life within this presentation; far from disappearing, dialogue is still being generated between the two people…
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Open 8 October to 22 December 2012.