Fiona Connor

Secession

27 June - 1 September 2019

Fiona Connor,  What you bring with you to work , 2010, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art

Fiona Connor, What you bring with you to work, 2010, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art

The New Zealand-born artist Fiona Connor creates sculptural installations where she replicates the props and structures of everyday life. Her recreations of noticeboards, drinking fountains, outdoor furniture, and doors not only draw attention to these widely overlooked items and their forms, they also reconstruct the histories and microeconomies of communities. Many of her works respond to the infrastructure of the places and environments where she exhibits them, to disclose the underlying architectural mechanisms that inform our interactions with art.

For Closed Down Clubs (2018), Connor assembled freestanding doors of nightclubs and small collective establishments as they were when the venues closed down. In addition to a wide range of surfaces and materials, Connor’s meticulous reconstructions include ephemera such as club flyers, stickers, and eviction notices from municipal authorities and landlords. Most moving are the statements posted by the clubs themselves to notify the communities they served of their demise. The sculptures reveal the artist’s deep curiosity about how things are made and how they are marked by use. Having absorbed all this information, they now stand as literal doors to lost spaces.

Fiona Connor was born in Auckland in 1981 and lives and works in Los Angeles.

More Information

Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles Review: Fiona Connor at the MAK Center

Fiona Connor,  Closed Down Clubs  (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and MAK Center. Photo: Esteban Schimpf.

Fiona Connor, Closed Down Clubs (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and MAK Center. Photo: Esteban Schimpf.

Fiona Connor at the MAK Center

Beyond mere entry and exit, not much thought is given to the doors through which we pass every day. Closed Down Clubs, New Zealand-born, Los Angeles-based artist Fiona Connor’s latest exhibition, invited contemplation of the larger significations of such mundane portals. Housed at the MAK Center’s Mackey Garage Top (a sleek and airy space above a garage behind a Rudolf Schindler house), Connor’s exhibition was comprised of nine freestanding doors installed in a staggered, parallel formation, each emblazoned with printed or hand-written signs announcing the recent closure of the businesses to which they were once attached.

Like virtually all of Connor’s work, each of the sculptures included is a meticulous replication of an actual object. Having previously assumed such forms as bulletin boards, drinking fountains, and architectural infrastructure, her works are typically adorned with artist-drawn or screen-printed stickers, posters, or pamphlets to faithfully match the original reference as closely as possible. As relics of shared space, her works often bear traces of obsolescence or fatigue, expounded through the artist’s fastidious duplication of objects’ apparent wear or corrosion. Closed Down Clubs was no exception—one could sense the traffic that Connor’s chosen doors had experienced in their past lives, as seen in suspended animation (such as where sullied hands cumulatively left their mark in instances of worn-o paint or accumulated grime). With such minute attention to detail, Connor’s work offers a verisimilitude so precise that it could easily be mistaken for the real thing, which begs the question: why laboriously recreate an object that could simply be appropriated?

Unlike Danh Vo or Cameron Rowland, two artists whose use of the readymade foregrounds the compelling personal and political histories of their chosen objects, Connor’s work is a deft repetition of the real. Indeed, her readymade-once-removed production is a fiction residing in tandem with reality—meaning we are meant to understand that her work is a facsimile of lived experience at a particular place and time. With this, Connor mobilizes the deceptive surface of artifice not only to underscore the often-overlooked aesthetic qualities of quotidian objects, but also what they communicate about the societies in which they function.

By Thomas Duncan

Full Review

Fiona Connor: Newspaper Reading Club in Routine Pleasures, MAK Schindler House

Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 7-9 PM

Wednesday, May 25 – Sunday, August 14, 2016   

Schindler House
835 N Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Routine Pleasures brings together artists working in a variety of media to explore "the termite tendency," a concept introduced by artist and film critic Manny Farber (1917–2008) in his 1962 essay "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art." Whereas the original essay applied these labels to the work of filmmakers, exhibition organizer Michael Ned Holte finds manifold parallels in contemporary art.

In today's overheated art world, it is easy to see a preponderance of "white elephant" art, defined by Farber as "yawning production of overripe technique shrieking with preciosity, fame, ambition." Routine Pleasures presents practitioners who embrace a quieter, more process-oriented approach. Like termites, these artists focus closely on what is before them, and follow the work wherever it may lead, often in diffuse directions. To locate and expand upon Farber's construct of the termite tendency, the exhibition features works by: James Benning; Jennifer Bornstein; Center for Land Use Interpretation; Harry Dodge; Manny Farber; Judy Fiskin; Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess; Galería Perdida; Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer; Simon Leung; Lucky Dragons; Roy McMakin; Carter Mull; Newspaper Reading Club; Pauline Oliveros; and Steve Roden.

More information here.