Agnostic Objects | Daniel Laskarin | February 22 to March 29, 2008

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Throughout a landscape of quotidian materials that have migrated into apparent groupings, the mere recognition of disparate objects provides the only entrance point to Daniel Laskarin’s Agnostic Objects. His guey sculptures seem repellant as awkward construction site barriers furred with varying gummy hues. The seeming utility of the objects set together in odd arrangements, makes its overarching sentiment one of confounding necessity. Farm equipment dated now more than a century provides a backdrop for digital articulation (via 3D CAD software) come new product, in the machinery of assembled import. What these juxtapositions provide is merely the test to which the artist wills the spectator. Found objects vie for space within a construction of designer furniture-esque hybrids, and genetic misbreeds of prosaic garage material.

Laskarin’s assemblages call attention to the objectness of the objects. Each’s recognizable parts present a quandary as a whole. This impulse to retreat from an imbibed meaning, has persisted from long before the 20th Century’s destruction of the notion of the autonomous self-sufficient artist (the genius attached to inspiration - the megalomaniac of artistry) and would welcome a sturdy treatment by way of analysis, of its formalist enterprise throughout the history of art. For now, with our sights on formal quality sans qualification, we are confronted with the object as collected production. From its long night’s journey into Greenbergianism, where the constraint of formal purety applied….to literary applications of avant-garde concrete poetics, to other modest attempts to duck out of interpretation, the artist has been fascinated by the notion of things in themselves. Things without thingyness. Things without thingness.

            Jean Baudrillard admits to performing feats of critical insight purely through the lens of the object. The subject, in his mind, was overburdened with the dilemma of the ego, and of its very constitution as a liminal quotation of neuronal processes amidst a sea of signs operating as a matrix (culture). To explore this terrain through the object’s own objectiveness, may be more of a literary rouse by a theoretician than a comprehension of objects within a system of meaning. Yet, there are several revelations, which provide access to an ulterior motive for the object. As Baudrillard determines: “ It seemed to me the object was almost fired with passion, or at least that it could have a life of its own; that it could leave behind the passivity of its use to acquire a kind of autonomy, and perhaps even a capacity to avenge itself on a subject over-sure of controlling it.”[1] Perhaps, these sculptures, which by now are divested of their sculpturesquesness, are more offering than import by the known artist. Laskarin’s objects both abjure their written fate in the hands of those discerning them, and reclaim a density of non-representation wherein meaning itself is an isotopic refraction of meanings, stalled at the exterior.


- Travis Murphy is an artist and writer based in Calgary, AB.

[1]  Baudrillard, Jean. Passwords. New York: Verso, 2003, p. 4.