PJ Hickman, Basic Attitudes (Box Sets Standard and Embossed Editions), 2008., originally uploaded by mxccuba.

Where was everyone? At PJ Hickman’s Metro Arts opening last night I didn’t see a single person I know. Weird. Nonetheless, extending on the Sophie Gannon exhibition mid-last year, there’s a number of insert: [AN ARTIST’S NAME] and artists from the Venice Biennale, such as Vernon Ah Kee. The works evoke a portrait of the artists, an image of their works, the broader art world and its institutionalised systems. There’s also multiple new works, or paintings-as-administration.The institutionalised frameworks for exhibiting art/artists, particularly painting; the works question the art world and arts status. Sometimes encased in boxes, similar to shoe-boxes, further questions its commodification. The exhibition is also nicely complimented with a text by Christine Morrow with comments such as ‘in the sense that everything has already been made and, at most, requires only a little reheating’ and ‘consider painting as an estate whose stock and assets have been stripped’. As well as paintings that mirror their attribution, the staged pilcrows, the typographical symbol or the backward P that marks the presence of a carriage return between paragraphs, suggests both blankness and no doubt a return to something.

Hickman’s reductive approach employs a limited colour palette (the serious colours); minimal content and a serial conceptual approach that eliminates all the fluffy. It’s on point. And I don’t think it’s an in-joke, it’s apparent. You see that the painting and the attribution are the same. Surely.


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