Marco Breuer
Tremors, Ephemera

9 November - 23 December, 2000

A limited-edition book with an essay by James Elkins available.

Andrew Roth is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of new photographs and books by Marco Breuer. To coincide with the exhibition, we have published a limited-edition book with an essay by James Elkins.

On view there will be over 20 images on photographic paper from the Tremors series and ten specially made books from Ephemera. Tremors are all camera-less pictures. Working in the darkroom, Breuer employs an assortment of household tools (a hot-plate, an electric pan) and moves them with varying pressure across photographic paper, registering their movement as a type of irregular, seismographic trace. The paper responds to the heat from the tool by recording a latent image that, once developed, turns the emulsion a range of colors from deep umber to burnt sienna and charcoal black. At first glance, it is difficult to distinguish these photographs from drawings, since the surface scarring refers to an image repertoire established within a larger tradition of mark-making. Essential to this body of work is Breuer’s deliberate misuse of both the tools which leave their impressions and the photographic paper recording the evidence. This collision establishes a friction that lies at the core of their originality and poetic appeal. Breuer flirts with his role as active image-maker, at times masterfully manipulating the materials at hand, at others, becoming a passive witness as he allows chance to play an active role. As James Elkins states in “Renouncing Representation”: “When chance is well managed … it creates a reality effect much stronger than anything that could be achieved by ordinary representation — it says, in essence: Mimesis is misguided, because real resemblance comes out of the objects themselves.”

In Ephemera, Breuer goes one step further in relinquishing his commitment to a particular medium and literally attacks standard drawing paper within generically designed, handmade books. The pages document direct activities which take place deep within the book cavity. An ignited fuse creeps through the book gutter, leaving a snake-like trail, fanning out in a smudge of brown smoke; an electric shock mars, in an explosive display of colorful splashes, the heart of a centerfold.

Marco Breuer has exhibited widely in America and Europe. His work is included in private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. He lives and works in New York.

James Elkins has been an associate professor in the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1989. He has written nine books of essays on art theory, including What Painting Is published by Routledge (1998) and most recently Pictures of the Body: Pain and Metamorphosis published by Stanford University Press in 1999. Why Art Cannot Be Taught: A Handbook for Art Students is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press.