Mental Fight- An Anti-Spell for the Twenty-First Century, Michael Tedja’s first one-person show in the United States, is as close as Locust Projects has come in a long time to hosting a painting show. Of course, for Tedja, painting is like an intestine—it’s a container for indefatigable production, libidinal overdrives, endless research, and a stream of ideas that never ebbs. It’s not a question of producing paintings for their own sake, of making luxury goods that sit on the wall, as much as it is of momentarily arresting the mad-cap flow of production, of pausing for a moment to asses what is going on before the current resumes its thundering course. And this often means that the canvases are in the middle of the room, or that the paintings have objects dangling from them. If sampling is the guiding logic of production for Tedja, don’t think of it in terms of what a DJ does. This isn’t mere citation, dropping a hook in so that things come off sounding better. This is an omnivorous sampling, a drive to swallow everything, to cannibalize whatever is within reach, the dirtier the better, and to produce “paintings” that are like frozen moments of digestion. And this cannibal sampling doesn’t allow the “paintings” to respect any borders or media. Everything has to be included—photographs, text, drawings, dirt, shoes, bikes. “Painting” serves merely as an old frame of reference, as something that allows us to catch our footing in the runaway stream of materials and ideas.
Michael Tedja lives in Amsterdam, where he attended school at the Gerrit Ritvld Acadmie and the Sandberg Institut, with a short stint in the early 90s at The Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited his work at the Stedelijk Museum, Centraal Museum in Utretch, Rotterdam’s Kunsthal, and Galerie Krizinger in Vienna. He also published a novel, A.U.T.O.B.I.O.G.R.A.P.H.I.E. (Vassallucci Publishers, Amsterdam), in 2003.
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