Office Baroque is pleased to present an exhibition of works by New York-based artist Leigh Ledare. For his first exhibition in Brussels since his survey at WIELS in 2012, three bodies of work by Ledare will be on view at Office Baroque’s downtown gallery at Place du Jardin aux Fleurs: Vokzal, The Walk, and The Large Group. These three overlapping works intervene into, or choreograph anew, a series of open systems — submitting both their subjects, and viewers, to distinct social, material or psychological processes. The aim of enacting these systems is to stage the conditions for reflecting on dynamics we collectively know not to know, or which, veiled in shadow, reveal themselves only indirectly. As such the works in “place du jardin aux fleurs” function allegorically.
Shot and projected in color 16mm, the 60-minute film Vokzal uses the sprawling space connecting three Moscow train stations as a rubric through which to map the dynamics emerging among individuals and the groups to which they belong, as well as “others” unlike them. For Vokzal ’s installation the gallery’s main room has been bisected by a corridor that functions not only as a psychological passageway but as a viewing apparatus, respatializing the film’s content inside the gallery and mirroring the square outside.
The Walk uses processes such as digestion, decomposition and sanitation to parallel what might be observed otherwise as psychic and social processes. Each of its 32 panels contains four parts. This includes two images: the depiction of a Soviet character actor from a collection of 1960s state issued postcards plus the depiction of a purebred dog from a comparable set of postcards. Additionally, pages torn from R.D. Lang’s seminal 1970 book Knots are then submitted to a series of stains made through the application of different material registers. The Walk suggests representation as a system of typing, pointing to how specific groups are cast by society to individually act out desirable, or undesirable aspects of our collective experience.
Comprising a counterpoint to Vokzal, the 70-minute single channel video The Large Group will be screened in the back atrium. The Large Group is culled from an expansive body of work in which Ledare organized and directed an immersive three-day experimental group psychology conference, replicating the structural improvisational method associated with London’s Tavistock Institute. Ledare enacted these sessions using twenty-one participants chosen to comprise a diverse cross-section of Zurich citizens. Led by six psychologists who both ran and participated in the groups, The Large Group stages a physical, temporal and psychic space to surface latent contradictions and tensions simmering below society’s surface.
Born in Seattle, USA in 1976, Leigh Ledare received his MFA from Columbia University in 2008 and currently lives and works in New York. His work has been the subject of solo surveys at Kunsthal, Charlottenborg and WIELS, Brussels, and solo exhibitions at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York; The Box, Los Angeles; Pilar Corrias, London; Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow and Les Rencontres de Arles, Arles. His work has appeared in group exhibitions at Manifesta 11, Zurich; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; ICA, London; Metro Pictures, New York; Shirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; MoMA PS1, New York; Swiss Institute, New York and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Fotomuseum Winterthur and the Hessel Museum of Art. In September 2017 Ledare’s work will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago.