focus: Richard Hawkins—Third Mind
October 22, 2010–January 17, 2011
Galleries 182–184, Ryerson Library
The title, Third Mind, makes reference to Richard Hawkins: Of two minds simultaneously, the artist’s 2007 exhibition at DeAppel in Amsterdam. The phrase “of two minds” typically means to be undecided, uncertain, or unsure. It is not indecision, however, that is at play in Hawkins’s practice. Rather he is deliberate and indeed mindful in the “duplicity and ambiguity” that characterizes his work. In this way, Third Mind serves as a testament to the artist’s continued propagation of “minds,” made up of a steady stream of thoughts, ideas, desires, fantasies, interactions, possibilities, viewpoints, opportunities, opinions, memories, and meanings. The title also invokes William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s 1978 book, The Third Mind, which introduced the concept of the “cut-up” in literature. Inspired by the history of collage in the visual arts and a natural extension of Gysin’s own visual collage practice, the cut-up becomes for the authors an alternative to the “either-or proposition” and linear declarative sentence structure that “shackles” Western thought and linguistics. Just as Burroughs and Gysin had deconstructed narrative structure through their cut-ups, Hawkins continually reconstructs himself as an artist with a practice that is remarkably unified within constant yet fluid shifts over time and among genres, techniques, and mediums. Inherent to his work is an invitation to feel things at the extremities of human experience and an acknowledgment, even championing of difference, desire, and pleasure as productive ends in themselves.
We will travel to AIC together at 10:00 on blue line.