John Miller, one of the protagonists of the In First Person Plural exhibition, will meet the public on the occasion of a new event of A Story, the AGORA format that invites artists to present their own personal “art history” to rethink the classical structure of the artist talk: the interests, influences and imagination of the artist will emerge through a selection of images, sound pieces and videos.
“In 2018 the independent curator Robert Nickas gave me a 45-rpm record by the LA post-punk band the Skoings for my sixty-fourth birthday. He told me, “I haven’t listened to it.” He also knew that I no longer own a record player. Instead, it was the record sleeve that mattered. Rather than picturing themselves, the Skoings had chosen to turn their instruments over to a group of mannequins. This resulted in a somewhat ambiguous image. Some of the mannequins are band members. Others are debris. Or fragments aspiring to personhood. One figure, the drummer, appears to be missing legs. In lieu of these, he has donned headphones and a scarf. I thought, “Why not extrapolate an art installation from this artifact?”. I had done something like this before, basing a solo painting show on a single episode of Wheel of Fortune. The main question was how faithful I should be to the record sleeve. Although the stylization was inspiring, I opted for a loose treatment. However, I found myself fixating on the box fan that the rhythm guitarist sat on. And I assumed that, like in the 1970s, I could find these generic box fans almost anywhere. Unfortunately, not. The new mannequin band was condemned to live in the present. I once read somewhere that a political demonstration is a dress rehearsal for a revolution. Hence, my title. However, I considered this idea vis-a-vis how John Sinclair argued for youth as a political class in his book Guitar Army. This is an idea that he later renounced.
In any event, Sinclair had always rejected the idea of protesting out of hand.”
The event will take place in the auditorium.
JOHN MILLER (Cleveland, 1965) lives and works in New York City. Throughout his multi-layered and extensive oeuvre Miller has deployed photo wallpaper, globes, photographs, advertising columns, shaped paintings of pedestrians, as well as conventional paintings of landscapes, reality TV programs, and game shows. Mannequins are yet another recurrent element that the artist utilises to play with what feel like appearances of reality. With his ironic approach, Miller investigates the autonomy of a work of art, as well as the established values, perception, and understanding of art within contemporary conditions of production and consumption.