Everything Stops for the Baby
23rd Sep –
Originally presented as his final exhibition for his MFA from the University of Florida, PETER GOUGE exhibits "Everything Stops for the Baby" as a new project at Melanie Roger Gallery for ArtWeek 2020 after recently returning to New Zealand from six years living in the USA.
"This project exists in two parts. For my family, it consists of five painted pieces of carpet shaped to cover loose and rubbing floorboards in the living room of the apartment I share with my wife and son. The carpets are functional––warning us and our visitors to avoid stepping in these noisy spaces when our newborn is sleeping. Transplanting the carpets from our apartment to the gallery would destroy this function. Instead, the documents and materials displayed to the public utilize a combination of media–– photography, drawing, painting, and programmed electronics––to communicate the function and presence of the carpets without removing them from their context.
Strangely, the way the carpets function is simply by being paintings, or painting like. The three main theorists I refer to here; Boris Arvatov, Isabelle Graw and Ferriera Gullar, all talk about the work of art having a kind of agency––Arvatov talks of the ‘socialist object’, Graw the painting being a ‘quasi-subject’, and Gullar the nonobject as ‘quasi-corpus’. This illusion of subjectivity is what spurs avoidance––with paintings we have an institutional instinct, don’t touch, or in this case, don’t tread on me."
New writing of a conversation in letters between the artist and his wife, writer Chloe Lane, accompanies this exhibition and can be read online here - https://www.contemporaryhum.com/chloe-lane-and-peter-gouge