Whitney Biennial 2012

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide allows visitors to hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2012 Whitney Biennial exhibition.

Tom Thayer (b. 1970), _This Life is Nothing More Than Waiting for the Sky to Open_, 2011. Paint on canvas, cardboard, string, wire and mixed media. 72 x 48 in. (182.88 x 121.92 cm). © Tom Thayer; collection of Michael Coppola and Ann Zumwalt, courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York. Photograph courtesy Derek Eller Gallery, New York

NARRATOR: In this room, you’ll see paintings, collages, sculptures, puppets, video, and other objects made and installed by Tom Thayer. One thing you’ll notice is that he tends to work with simple materials and technologies that border on the obsolete. He’s interested in the way human gestures appear when they’re rendered in humble materials—like cardboard.

TOM THAYER: When an obviously inanimate material like cardboard or scraps of paper are transformed by instilling that gestural quality, there is something magical that happens to the communication. And it's like isolating or extracting some of our most touching qualities about being alive, and examining them for a moment. It's like being able to look into a mirror and see some essence of life that you don't think about every day.

To me, it really has something to do with transforming materials.

And many of these things have had a functional history. They've had a previous life that has had a function. For instance a painting often is something that was filmed as part of an animation and a lot of times has elements that I hang off the front of it that were maybe at one time a puppet or a sculpture. The collages are generated by making animated videos using like a cut paper—using like a stop motion cut paper type process.

When everything in the room is like that, it kind of activates this space just a little bit, just the history of these things and the way your mind kind of looks at it and wonders, "What could have happened with these? How did they arrive here?" Rather than just kind of a static image or sculpture.

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