For Animot at Lyles & King, Jo-ey Tang and Thomas Fougeirol takes up this “perhaps begins here” with debris and matters from the past, as wrought on and beneath the surfaces of Fougeirol’s receptively layered paintings and in Tang’s consideration of the generative fluidity of the condition, status and temporality of art and its document/ation.
Fougeirol applies layers of gesso and oil paint on canvases, which takes months to dry, and on and into them he throws debris, trash, and extra stuff collected from the streets of New York, where the artist keeps a studio. Previously his selection of materials was limited to dust particles and elements generated from his studio activities. Simultaneously working on multiple taxonomies of painting series, plastic gallon containers with their spouts cut off are used as paint buckets. For Animot, the dried-up sedimentation of paint-cakes lodged in the bottom of the buckets are employed as both mark-making device and self-referential paint-object. These deposits are re-deposited on and into the fresh layers of still-drying canvases. Dead paint meets fresh paint. Sometimes these paintings register gravitational pull, and sometimes they trick the eye into pulling them back up. They operate across multiple coordinates, pivoting between flatness and depth, between what they look like and what they might be.
The impulse to equalize and recalibrate value can be found as a parallel in Fougeirol’s anthropological research project on studio practice, INTOTO (beginning in 2016 and with exhibitions having taken place in New York, Berlin, and Paris so far in seven locations), with artists Julien Carreyn and Pepo Salazar. They collectively cull a range of things with unstable status: scraps, items, material tests, and for-now failures from artists’ studios, and install theses finds evenly spaced in a line as a horizon of possibilities. Each is sold democratically for 100 dollars or 100 euros. These non-works show a path, whether abandoned or a way, forgoing what they might be for what they look like.
For the past decade, Jo-ey Tang has attuned to the conditions of his life, its constraints and limits of energy-time, as a person, and in the ecology in the field of art, as curator of art institutions, writer and communicator with artists, to shape his non-studio and non-practicing art practice. With an ethos of non-output, Tang only generates artworks on the occasion of invitations, where concretion from past exhibitions are often dragged into the present as a kind of ephemeral anti-ephemerality. He insistently destabilizes the status of artworks and the status of documentation, as a moving target which could take the forms of photography, language, and objects. For example, photographic works might be generated by using sculptural elements or documentation from previous exhibitions, only to be broken apart into disparate images and works, and to be built up again to generate new iterations. The movement between conflict and freedom – whose and which work, what forms does it takes and how - is ongoing and not meant to be resolvable.
In the past few years, Tang has turned his focus on projects with other artists in the form of two-person exhibitions in lieu of solo exhibitions, to allow for proximities and resonances for his own works to come into being. He fluidly moves these works across time and space and medium and from the company of one artist to another, in order to take shot at boundaries. Casting unequal measures of self-doubt and trust, in this keep-doing, he hopes these works know no ends.