Review: Spencer Stucky’s Paul Makris

Paul Makris, the culmination of Spencer Stucky’s 2015 BOLT Residency, occupies dual sites, the Chicago Artist’s Coalition and Front Room in Wicker Park. 

The exhibition guide at the entrance of the gallery at CAC is the key necessary to fully enter the exhibition. Replacing wall text, Stucky provides an index of the objects on display, complete with titles, measurements, dates, and origins. None of the objects were manufactured by Stucky, save for a photograph of a photograph which intentionally reveals itself as a degraded copy. The guide also contains an integral essay by Karsten Lund, which is elucidating and at the same time mystifying, as he poetically provides insight into the significance of the objects on display and delineates the underlying theme of constructed narratives and their residual magnitude.

The aesthetic cohesiveness of the exhibition, intriguing in its range of objects (painted reproductions of photographs of sites of myths, neat stacks of recycled newspapers from the Chicago Tribune interrupted by alien-looking instruments used for squid fishing, porcelain interpretations of alligator backs, a 1982 Sanyo radio tuned to the same static station as the 2012 Panasonic in Front Room) is deepened once one familiarizes herself with the printed information. The multitude of connections between them are dense in the way a heavy fog is both tangible and not. Enchanting in its opacity, to avoid the conceptual rigor that Paul Makris demands is to deny oneself the potential for accessing the inaccessible, whether real or imagined. 

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 12.29.39 AM

Paul Makris is on view at the Chicago Artist’s Coalition from May 1 – May 21, 2015

(detail of “Location of Liu Ao’s Dream & Emperor Gaozu’s Conception” 2015  Oil Painting produced in Dafen Village, China 1st of 3rd sightings 36″ x 48″)

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