John Knight, Installation view, a work in situ, Greene Naftali, New York, 2015
Greene Naftali is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition by Los Angeles–based artist John Knight. The current exhibition constitutes a brief history of Knight’s media practice, and represents a set of the artist’s ongoing concerns. Through his excavations of seemingly benign subject matter, Knight demonstrates the subtlety with which various sources of power are enforced.
Advertising copy and typography are lifted from 1970s editions of the Los Angeles Times real estate supplement. The phrases—“Easy Elegance”; “Limited edition luxury”; “LIVE BIG”—maintain their carriage of aspiration in absence of a visual referent, establishing the lack of a natural relationship between suburbanization and its promise.
A young girl reciting the conjugation of the verb crier, not in French, but in the indigenous language Breton. As the girl pronounces the conjugation of the Breton huchal, the arbitrariness of the hierarchy between official and vernacular language is revealed.
A video camera is pointed toward a corner of a room, which feeds in a closed circuit to a monitor in an adjacent corner. The work flatly delivers the mechanism of uprooting across a neutral field.
A filmic narrative parodically postures as a transcription of clandestine notes, presenting its content in dated entries and suspenseful language. Yet the presentation, in fact, details a chronology of events surrounding the artist’s nightly activities in a lithography workshop.
A commercial spot, produced for the Flanders evening news, promotes the agricultural product that attracts the county’s guest-worker population, the delicious apple. A luxurious portrayal of the fruit unfolds to a soundtrack of a Gregorian chant and the whispers of several guest-worker languages.