Taryn SimonPaperwork and
the will of capital

A reflection on governance and economics
14 April –  24 June, 2016

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present Taryn Simon’s first Italian exhibition in Rome, following the New York current show, and artist attendance to 56th edition of Venice Biennial in 2015.
Paperwork and the Will of Capital is composed of sculptures and photographs. The photographs are large, colorful, and spectacular with a nod to Pop art, and custom-framed in mahogany to emulate the style of boardroom furniture. The sculptures are stylized concrete flower-presses containing delicate preserved floral specimens. A storyteller whose grist is the instability of fact, Simon’s research-driven approach has produced such impactful and whimsical bodies of work. Simon takes empirical photography into the field of post-conceptual practice, with exacting attention to aesthetic and formal concerns.
For the new work, Simon’s investigations yielded twin points of departure: archival photographs of official signings; and George Sinclair’s nineteenth century horticultural study containing actual dried grass specimens. In Paperwork and the Will of Capital, the artist examines accords, treaties, and decrees drafted to influence systems of governance and economics, from nuclear armament to oil deals and diamond trading. Simon’s photographs of the recreated centerpieces from these signings, together with their stories, underscore how the stagecraft of political and economic power is created, performed, marketed, and maintained.

Each of Simon’s recreations of these floral arrangements represents an “impossible bouquet”—a concept that emerged in Dutch still-life painting parallel to the country’s seventeenth-century economic boom, which ushered in the development of modern capitalism. Then, the impossible bouquet was an artificial fantasy of flowers that could never bloom naturally in the same season and geographic location. Now the fantasy is made possible—both in the original signings and in Simon’s photographs—by the global consumer market.

 

PAPERWORK AND THE WILL OF CAPITAL ADDRESSES THE INSTABILITY OF EXECUTIVE DECISION-MAKING AND THE PRECARIOUS NATURE OF SURVIVAL.