Ceal Floyer: Objects and Words

Ceal Floyer
Plughole, 2017
Video projection with sound, durationL 3:53 minutes
Edition 1 of 3, with 2 AP
CF 215.1

© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

Artist Ceal Floyer is known for using ready-mades to address the rift between objects and their assigned names.  For the current exhibition at 303 Gallery which ends on July 14th presents the artist's new and recent works.  These works are witty, and they play on words and translations.

The gallery room feels extra spacious and pristinely white with the installation of Floyer's pieces. This is due to the conceptual nature of the artist's work that nothing is meant to overwhelm the eye.  As the work is being physically observed, it requires your brain's cognitive process to make the association.  When the coordination between the mind and the eye is established, one realizes she must undo and re-thing it, because the initial association is but a mistranslation.  

Hearing Aid, 2017; Newton's Cradle, 2017
Installation view
© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

Ceal Floyer
Newton's Cradle, 2017
Newton's cradle, plinth, 6 5/8 x 5 1/8 x 5 1/8  inches (17 x 13 x 13 cm),
48 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in (123 x 14 x 14 cm) pedestal,
55 1/8 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches (140 x 14 x 14 cm) overall
Edition of 1 of 3, with 2 AP
CF 217.1
© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York 

Through the doorway entrance, Newton's Cradle (2017) greets you. Betraying the usual appearance and movement of the device, Floyer's one presents the metal balls in a tangle. Absent of the perpetual pendulum movement that demonstrates the conservation of momentum, Floyer's cradle demonstrates entropy and collision as the result of the randomness in the system.

In her works, the titles are equally important as their physical forms. Together, they address the disconnect between linguistic and cultural translations of everyday objects. On the wall next to the cradle is a medium-size photograph showing a pair of hands.  The meaning of the hands' gesture is ambiguous as they are so far apart and partially disappearing off the frame.  This suggests the empty space between the hands probably contains the answer. Upon reading the title,  Hearing Aid (2017) one realizes that the hands are not the main subject, the objective is in what they are doing.  As it turns out, the viewer might fill the blank space and the cupped hands would help one's ears to hear better.

Ceal Floyer
Plughole, 2017
Video projection with sound, duration: 3:53 minutes
Edition 1 of 3, with 2 AP
CP 215.1
© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York 

In the center of the gallery is a video projection called Plughole (2017), and it is precisely that, a plughole.  But is it?  The sound of this piece reminds one of standing in the kitchen while cleaning dishes, as dirt and grease wash down the stream.  On the other hand, this plughole is pristine and perfectly clean.  Rather than flushing down water through all the holes at once, in this work the water aims strategically into each hole rotating around. It focuses on the physical positioning of each hole, as the water is plugging down the empty space on the solid surface, Plughole becomes a game of wordplay.  

Ceal Floyer
Saw, 2015
Blade, acrylic, chalk marker
Dimension variable
Edition 3 of 3, with 2 AP
CF 197.3
© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York 

There are pieces that integrate with the physical architecture of the gallery.  Occupying the space in the far end is a work called Saw (2015).  The viewer is cautioned to watch her step. This piece shows a metal saw standing upward upon a line of a perfect circle in the solid floor that it possibly just cut through.  Looking at it makes one want to jump into the circle just to see what would happen.  Now sit aside the desire to destruct, "saw" is a noun for a tooth-edged tool, and it is also a past-tense verb for see.  As the last piece in the show, the circular line implies coming to a full circle.  And for moment, the viewer just "saw" everything in the exhibition.  

Ceal Floyer
Conversation Piece, 2017
Vinyl, overall dimension variable
Edition 1 of 3, with 2 AP
CF 218.1
© Ceal Floyer, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

Above the exit, a set of quotation marks is applied in such a way that frames all the pieces within the space as if one verbal statement.  This Conversation Piece (2017) suggests that from the beginning until the end of the exhibition, the pieces each play a part in the conversation revolve around the topic of visual interpretation and linguistic translation. Ceal Floyer's current exhibition at 303 Gallery is diligently planed to convey the artist's idea that as we observe our physical environment, we are inevitably prompted to associate the objects with their assigned names, but without the awareness of this random system.   


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