77 Testicular Imprints
September 20 - December 8, 2007
Andrew Roth is pleased to present a new exhibition and artist’s book by Nicolás Guagnini. “77 Testicular Imprints” is the most recent in a series of projects in which Guagnini presents a multiple of the number seven as the fundamental element used in combination with an intervention in publications and other ephemeral printed matter. “77 Testicular Imprints” consists of 77 paintings, along with a limited edition of 16 cloth-bound books with a unique oil imprint on each cover, and a trade edition bound in wrappers.
The paintings were produced with oil paint applied directly to the artist’s testicles and imprinted on various bound and ephemeral printed matter including: mainstream magazines such as Time and Life; art market staples such as Artforum, Art in America and Art News; exhibition and auction catalogues; rare magazines and artist’s books; personal letters; and lastly, on an assortment of original artworks, poems and studio notes by Vito Acconci, Simon Bedwell, Alejandro Cesarco, and Dan Graham.
Many of the imprinted items are valuable and integrate within a niche market; they can be read as originally intended and also collected as precious objects. In the act of transforming them into paintings, Guagnini suspends their original use value by altering their commodity of exchange through an act of artistic intervention. They can no longer be handled. Adding to this transformation, Guagnini has further imposed a new meaning to the material by excerpting a portion of text from within and pairing it with its cover. Thus the pictorial act of imprinting and bodily appropriation functions simultaneously as signature and editorial.
Like Marcel Broodthaers’s eagles, the testicular imprints also delineate a critical archive, acting like stamps of inclusion. What Guagnini establishes through this process are the relationships between Patriarchy, Private Property, Power, Progress, Position, Packaging and Personality in 20th-century art production. The geniuses that shaped the century — Picasso, Duchamp, Joyce, and le Corbusier — are paraded alongside Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the atomic attack on Hiroshima. Minimalism, Postminimalism, Conceptual art, Abstract Expressionism, Experimental film, Lettrism, Situationism, and other significant outgrowths are integrated, illustrating their instrumentality in becoming history.
Guagnini’s selection of texts is visually married to their sources to create a meta-narrative; they establish a fragmentary relationship with the object from which they were removed. The placement, color, and materiality of the oil imprints cohere into a precise critical and aesthetic statement about the images on which they intervene. In certain instances, they are placed in a complimentary position with the image, at other times they obliterate specific parts of the image or text, generating new and often unexpected meanings.
77 Testicular Imprints is published in an edition of 500 copies, of which 16 are bound in cloth, signed, and numbered and include an original artist’s painting on the cover.