2012, 72 pages, 16 color illustrations
Titled after an essay by the late philosopher and literary theoretician Jean-Francois Lyotard, Several Silences is an exhibition exploring various kinds of silence. Although silence as a discourse arose out of cultural conditions calling for the negation of art, it has subsequently become familiar subject matter, no longer operating as the avant-garde ideal it once was. No longer the sign of an existential dilemma, it has since become a prized commodity. This is not to say silence has lost significance. If anything, it has become a more potent antidote to a culture of distraction. Rather than being the absence of communication, silence is dialectically opposed to communication, so that one sustains and supports the other. Inextricably linked to communication, which it tacitly evokes, silence itself is a form of communication with many meanings, as is made clear by the artists in this exhibition, Lewis Baltz, Troy Brauntuch, Manon de Boer, Paul Dickinson, Ryan Gander, Geissler and Sann, Gran Fury, C.M. von Hausswolff, Harold
Mendez, Jonty Semper, and Harry Shearer.
This beautifully designed catalogue includes photo documentation of the exhibition installation as well as each of the individual artworks in it. It features essays by Hamza Walker, the curator of the exhibition, and Thomas Trummer, a widely published author on contemporary art and philosophical aesthetics who is currently the Director of Kunsthalle Mainz. In addition, the book contains introductory texts on each of the individual artists by Kelly Huang. The Several Silences exhibition and this publication are based on a cooperation between The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and Siemens Arts Program.