Catharine Czudej at Michael Benevento

Artist: Catharine Czudej

Exhibition title: Imagine all the People

Venue: Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, US

Date: April 21 – June 8, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Michael Benevento Gallery is pleased to present Imagine all the People – a large-scale installation of new and ongoing work by Catharine Czudej. This is the New York artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.

Installed in the entrance Waiting for Jimmy Hoffa [double Fall-Down] (2019) – is a kinetic sculpture from Czudej’s Fall-Down series (2018-). Facing each other, atop a steel plinth, are two identical figures, standing 30-inches tall, dressed in overalls, boots and caps. Enlarged from a 1-inch Chinese made plastic toy using 3D software, much of the detail has been softened in translation. The vivid colors of the original substituted with a ghostly white. Segmented from the waist down, they are unstable on their feet; holding hands for support. As a mechanism inside the plinth releases the steel cables that keep the pair in tension, they jiggle, contort and collapse, performing a raucous physical comedy act – regaining balance only to collapse again.

Applied to the south wall of each of the four exhibition spaces is Cheering Crowd (2019), a stock image depicting a throng of spectators frozen at the point of peak applause – some punch the air in victory, others raise their palms to the skies; eyes beaming with adrenaline, mouths fixed agape. The low resolution jpeg has been stretched to fit the height of the gallery walls. These hired actors stand in as a fan base a surrogate audience, hired to applaud on cue.

Interspersed throughout the exhibition are two conceptually related, yet distinctly different manifestations of paintings, which Czudej has developed in tandem over the past two years. The TVs (2018 – ), monumental panels of obsidian black and cobalt blue – first appear as large-scale minimalist paintings. Yet, clues to another identity are found on closer inspection – the faint imprint of a manufacturers logo, the adumbration of an audio output, reveal these forms to be one-to-one casts of a high-end flat screen television. Produced in slow curing resin – the sleek flat surfaces fetishized in television design undulate and are pocked in places, the crisps sharp lines of the frame wobble and warp. In some works such as TV #1 (2019), Czudej pours a single quantity of blue into the black surface at the beginning of the curing process, causing the colors to bleed to into each other, intermingle and spill over the edge of the picture frame

The Dry-erase paintings (2019–) stake a similar position. Large-scale surfaces powder-coated white with aluminum trim – they emulate a typical whiteboard – the type ubiquitous in schools, boardrooms and offices. Using oil based pens, to mimic standard issue marker colors, Czudej applies text and diagrams

– as well as shapes, numbers and nursery school motifs. Layers are built-up and rubbed away using spirits, and re-applied again until no discernible information remains. What is left is a pictorial field of stuttering gestures, calligraphic lines, clipped words and Turneresque hazes of color where pigment has diluted and dispersed.

Not quite sculpture, not quite painting – both series vacillate between the status of ready-made and monochrome. As utilitarian object, they no longer perform their primary functions. A dry-erase board stripped of it’s ability to communicate, to be erasable. A television no longer able to fulfill it’s promise of picture clarity, absorption. As artworks they remain restless, reticent, mute. They point away from themselves – to the constructs within which they exist.

Linking each of the exhibition spaces together is Waterworks, (2019) – an indoor water feature, jerry-rigged together using buckets and plastic piping – it spurts round corners and shoots through doorways to make a complete loop of the building. Each bucket serves as a makeshift wishing-well, housing a wide array of objects through which streams of water are propelled. Some are household items, purchased online and returned to the vendor after the casting, others are direct casts of friends. The artist’s face spews, into a pool containing coins, a pump drives the water up and out through the eyes of a Hello Kitty Figurine and into the next and so on and son. Amounting to a crude circulatory system – a metabolic portrait of consumption, production and distribution.

Catharine Czudej (b.1985, Johannesburg) grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and currently lives and works in New York City. She studied at UCLA, Los Angeles and NYU, New York. Previous solo exhibitions include. Not books, Ginerva Gambino, Cologne, Germany (2018); Ball Polisher, Jeffrey Stark, New York, USA (2017); SHHHHHH, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (2016); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Office Baroque, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Belly-Up Dead, Chewday’s, London, UK (2015); No Soap Radio, Peep-Hole, Milan, Italy (2015); Bite into that soft ass, Ramiken Crucible, New York, USA (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, Los Angeles, curated by Ali Subotnick; (2019); Smile, Halsey McKay, New York, USA (2019); The Party, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA (2018); Pine Barrens, Tanya Bonakdar, New York, USA (2018); The Commodification of Love, Kamel Mennour, Paris, France (2017); A Spaghetti Dress for World Peace, Park View, Los Angeles, USA (2017); Dead Horse, JTT, New York, USA (2017); Concrete Island, Venus Over Manhattan, Los Angeles, USA (2017) Dolores (organized by Todd von Ammon), Team Gallery, New York, USA (2016); The Discovery of a Leak in the Roof of Marcel Breuer’s Wellfleet Summer Cottage on the Morning of September 16, 1984, Off Vendome, New York, USA (2016); Inside Out (curated by Alexandra Economou), Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich, Switzerland (2016); Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (organised by Ed Atkins and James Richards), Eden Eden, Berlin, Germany (2015).

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Waiting for Jimmy Hoffa [Double Fall-Down], 2019, Plastic, Steel, 70.5 x 20 x 12 inches

Catharine Czudej, Waiting for Jimmy Hoffa [Double Fall-Down], 2019, Plastic, Steel, 70.5 x 20 x 12 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 1, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, TV 9, 2019, Polyurethane , 38 x 66 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 10, 2019, Polyurethane , 38 x 66 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 11, 2019, Polyurethane , 38 x 66 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 5, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 7, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 6, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 8, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, TV 6, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 7, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 8, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 4, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 3, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 2, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Whiteboard 1, 2019, Aluminum, Oil Based Marker, Enamel, 72 x 48 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, TV 2, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 3, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 3, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, TV 4, 2019, Polyurethane, 66 x 38 inches

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Waterworks, 2019, Buckets, Pumps, Silicon, Plastic, Change, Phone Books, Water, Dimensions Variable

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

Catharine Czudej, Imagine all the People, 2019, exhibition view, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles

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