OBJECT LESSON/STUMBLING BLOCK
30 November 2017 to 3 February 2018
OBJECT LESSON/STUMBLING BLOCK, an exhibition of new work by Krista Buecking, presents a series of prints that combine linguistic tropes of positive affirmations with professional product photography. In each, the disembodied living currency of a young woman’s manicured fingers push, grope, hold, seduce, caress, and engage various consumer objects and data visualizations. As the title suggests, the work offers a paradox – an opportunity to reflect upon the complicated and contradictory relationship we have with the material and dematerialized effects of free market capitalism.
On the one hand, an obsessive reliance on gel sanitizer and cold press juice or the craving for millennial colour spectrums and sans-serif font describe manifestations of neoliberalism and the aspirational desire to feel calm, safe, and in control. On the other, each scenario performs a visual gaffe: the carrots are not farm fresh, the slender arms are too tense, the tags are showing, the arrow is dropping. Each of these slips exposes how the pervasive quest for personal fulfillment often results in trying, absurd, desperate, and awkward consequences.
As wellness becomes an ideology that collapses social problems with personal failure, it has worked to pathologize individual subjects in order to undermine collectivist action. In turn, systemic inequalities and structural violence are sublimated under the pressure for individuals to take responsibility for their own improvement, productivity, and management. For instance, a precarious gig-economy is presented as the freedom to be one’s own boss, or as the soft yellow text on one of Buecking’s prints asserts, A TRUSTED TEAM OF ONE.