Time, People, Money, Crickets
Santa Fe, USA/Vancouver, Canada: SITE/CAG, 2013
200 pp., 22 x 28 x 1.5 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown
The first monograph for LA-based artist Mungo Thomson takes its format from the Time-Life mass-market mail-order books from the sixties and seventies. The "Time" of the title refers to a series of works Thomson began in 2009, using Time Magazine as a starting point. These include a number of drawings of the logo, over-sized mirrors and a video work.
The two-and-a-half-minute video features every cover the periodical has produced, at a rate of 30 per second. It showed in Toronto recently, as part of a group exhibition at G Gallery. The mirrored works take the premise of the novelty mirror which allows the viewer to insert himself onto the cover of the magazine (picture Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, staring into a "Man of the Year" issue in the home of millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski). Thomson produced pairs of these mirrors, oversized (74 x 56 inches) and positioned them across from each other in the gallery, creating a kind of visual infinity as a magazine cover-story.
People is a series of images Thomson has reworked from professional event photographers' pictures of gallery openings. The artist has removed the art from the walls and floors with photoshop, leaving the people behind, seemingly pondering nothing. These images were made into a magazine which mimicked the size, page count and paper stock of the weekly glossy tabloid People. The project was distributed through the mail and exhibited as a take-away. For more information, see previous post, here.
Crickets is a transcription of the sound of a field recording of the insects, notated for a 17-piece classical ensemble. See the previous post, here.
Other works include turning the gallery coat check hangers into wind-chimes, several inflatable projects and a series of large scale photographs of the universe printed in photo-negative (a technique he also applies to Nam June Paik's infamous blank leader Zen for Film, turning the dust and scars on the celluloid into glowing stars).
Throughout the book we see examples of Thomson's appropriation of familiar publication formats: the title itself, People Magazine, National Geographic, religious tracts, and the (admittedly much lesser-known) music scores by Editions Peters. It's one of the more impressive monographs on a young artist that I've seen in the last few years.
The title is available for the special 'exhibition' price of $25 at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, for the rest of this week. The exhibition closes this Sunday, August 30th.