Gordon Hall’s eighteen distinct sculptures, made from cast concrete, poplar, colored pencil, hand-dyed fabric, and carved brick, sit together quietly at the center of PICA’s expansive warehouse. The works deliver themselves to us slowly, requesting looking and re-looking, understood over time through a subtle language of material, color, and the relations between the objects’ constituent parts. Like a pair of clasped hands, Hall’s precisely made sculptures turn inwards and towards one another, simultaneously inviting and withholding.
Hall’s objects seek to trouble our efforts to definitively read them, preferring to perpetually waver between adjacent identities. They feel familiar yet strange, made up of the edges of recognizable things—benches, shims, a basin, turned table legs, a saddle, tools. These objects ask to be used, but are not clear about how or by whom. Through this potentiality, they are rendered anew, and slightly perverted. We watch the sculptures as they watch us. Together, our usefulness is called into question. What can we learn about our bodies, and the bodies of these objects, from this adjacency?
Correlating with the sculptures, eighteen short movement scores choreographed by Hall will be performed by the artist and a revolving cast of Portland-based performers throughout the run of the exhibition. These performances will take place even if the gallery is empty. Unlike props, the sculptures are the directors, dictating what takes place on and around them. There is a grammar to their shapes, waiting to be felt and spoken between our bodies and the bodies of these objects. Those who spend time with this family of things are interlocutors engaged in the question, “What does it mean to be witnessed?”
OVER-BELIEFS: Gordon Hall Collected Writing 2011-2018, published on the occasion of THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH, is an edited survey of the artist’s essays, interviews, and performance scripts from this formative stage of their career, introduced by the exhibition’s curators, Roya Amirsoleymani and Kristan Kennedy, and with a reflection from Sarah Workneh, Co-Director of Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. The book was edited by Spencer Byrne-Seres, PICA’s Exhibitions Director, with a cover design by Dante Carlos and book design and printing by Gary Robbins / Container Corps. A publication release and reading by Hall will take place at PICA on June 10, 2019 at 6:30 PM.
In conjunction with the exhibition, an open edition of three cast concrete table-top sculptures by Hall titled Three Paperweights (Mug, Knob, and Claw) will be available for sale through the run of the exhibition. Proceeds will support the exhibition and publication.
THROUGH AND THROUGH AND THROUGH is curated by Roya Amirsoleymani, Artistic Director, Curator of Public Engagement and Kristan Kennedy, Artistic Director, Curator of Visual Art.