Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg & London) impressed guests at PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2019 with their presentation of work by New York artist, Cory Arcangel. The lightbox installation was from Arcangel’s ‘Lakes’ Series (2013-ongoing), which delves into celebrity and image-obsessed cultures. Arcangel sources his inspiration from his education in classical guitar and music technology from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, resulting in digitally-driven artworks that have earned solo exhibition spaces across the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).
Arcangel took part in a short interview with PHOTOFAIRS onsite in September, to inform our online audiences about his current exhibition ‘Topline’ at the Cc Foundation & Art Center, a non-profit space at M50 Art Zone (Shanghai) founded by Collector David Chau in 2016. The exhibition demonstrates the artists fascination for fast fashion and mass production.
Cory: “Hi, my name is Cory Arcangel. I have a show in Shanghai called Topline which is currently on show at the CC Foundation & Art Center, which is in the M50 Arts Complex..."
What is a topline?
"A topline is a word that refers to a sung melody, which forms the primary vocal hook and the dominant melody in pop music. It is poetically related to my show. My show consists of a room-filling installation of fourteen works which are all made by printing scans of textiles with UV ink onto IKEA Linnmon table-tops purchased in Shanghai."
“With his unique creation vision Arcangel draws together different strands of popular culture highlighting connections between various forms of contemporary artistic creation.”
Please explain where you sourced the textiles from for the 14 pieces of work in the series? Why did you pick these commercially available textiles?
"I picked the commercially available textiles that comprised ‘Topline’, because in my travels around the world I started to notice the extent of global fashion. You see the same brands and people wearing the same clothes, especially leggings, in Dubai, Shanghai, Norway, New York. So I was very interested in that and wanted to try to distill it somehow into an exhibition.
The thing about fast fashion which is interesting and makes it tricky, is that clothing will appear, it will sell out, and then never appear again. And so what I’ve been doing the last few years in anytime I see something that I think has a cool pattern or a cool phrase on it I collect it, so I have a giant collection of fabrics that are stored in giant boxes across my various studios, so it’s a kind of personal collection."
"The works in Topline are kind of ambiguous as to actually what they are. I describe them as paintings but they don’t use paint. A painting is anything that is a giant square that hangs on a wall. Physically and technically they’re closer to photography because they were made by scanning textiles, and a scanner is basically a giant camera. It’s interesting that these kind of divisions don’t really exist, such as photography, sculpture, these things really don’t make sense anymore!”
“These collages forefront contemporary mainstream fashion as an aesthetic reflection of the time in which we live”