It is with great pleasure that Simone Subal Gallery announces the opening of Frank Heath’s Post Holes on Friday, March 30, 2012. This is his first solo show in New York and runs until April 26, 2012. Please join us for the opening on Friday, February 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The screening of Graffiti Report Form (2012) begins at 7:00 pm.
Heath’s poetic, itinerant work examines and intervenes in the unexceptional spaces of quotidian life. At the core of his art is a practice of taking quiet, private acts—some verging on the absurd, others the melancholic—into public situations. Leaving a sense of ambiguity for viewers to puzzle over, these gestures keep in tension several contradictory positions, such as being both intrusive as well as redemptive. For Post Holes, Heath presents three projects that use the recursive circuitry of established modes of communication (the postal system, classified advertisements, and an online governmental report form) to displace transmissions they serve.
The exhibition centers on Heath’s formally complex video Graffiti Report Form, which as the title suggests was actually submitted to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. What begins as a first person account of a concerned citizen wishing to report an instance of graffiti in Morningside Park becomes a film within a film and a subtle meditation on history, place, and narrative structure. Shot over a period of five years, this expanse of time is both compressed and extended through a confluence of interventionist gesture, historical anecdote, and fictional narrative. Dystopian survival story in the guise of an urgent militaristic transmission, the film elicits issues of public and private space, the arbitrary nature of anniversary, and the peculiar history of this specific park as the starting place for the infamous 1968 student revolt at nearby Columbia University. Graffiti Report Form circles upon itself with these layered themes, aspects of which make connections to the other two groups of work in the show: Reruns (2012) and Former Structures (2012).
Reruns is a series of five diptychs, each displaying a classified advertisement from a past issue of a local newspaper that has been reposted verbatim in the same publication, on the same date, this year. For example, the exact text of a Lost and Found ad from The New York Times March 1, 1932 edition was placed again in the New York Times, March 1, 2012. The five Reruns ran Monday through Friday in a single week with the sources of the original ads moving progressively older in twenty-year increments to span a century. The economy of language and use of first person tense in these classifieds is suggestive of present day forms of concise communication, which also function as personal messages broadcast into a public sphere.
Former Structures works on a similar principle as Reruns. Three sculptures have been split in half. One section of each object is on display in the gallery. Their severed counterparts were mailed to addresses in Manhattan that no longer exist. The forms appear abstract but relate directly to their intended destinations (i.e. a sculpture modeled after a distribution case has been sent to the now defunct City Hall Post Office). The return address of these seemingly undeliverable parcels is that of the gallery itself, leaving the exhibition suspended in a state of potential delivery.
During the run of the exhibition, the video Graffiti Report Form will be screened on the hour.