So This Is, (diptych) 2011
Silver gelatin print on fiber-based paper,
3.135 x 4.705 inches and
silkscreen on paper with color shifting ink,
8.135 x 9.705 inches (unframed),
Edition of 10
Trepte’s labor-intensive but minimal, evocative but recondite work, like any epistemic puzzle, requires investment and patience from the viewer-the willingness to look twice and think beyond what is immediately present. For example, one half of the diptych So This Is (2011) features the titular phrase silk-screened on to paper with UV-sensitive ink that appears and disappears according to its exposure to sunlight. Notable, the o in So is filled in to create a solid form that rhymes with the other half of the diptych: a small photographic print doctored so that its solitary subject, a midcentury woman in clown attire in the desert, appears to hold a matching black ellipse or hole. The absurdity and narrative opacity of the found, altered image suggest that here, as in much of Trepte’s output, what is omitted or obscured is more significant that what is readily apparent.”
- Kurt Mueller, Made in L.A. 2012
exhibition catalog, Hammer Museum/Delmonica Prestel
LM Projects is pleased to announce its newest invitational for 2011; a multiple from Los Angeles based artist Cody Trepte. This project continues Trepte’s interest in language and appropriated imagery yet serves as a precursor to a new body of work that investigates meaning through omission.
Trepte pairs a found silver gelatin photograph with a text based silkscreen to be displayed either as a diptych or in disparate locations within a single space. Unique to the silkscreen is a UV sensitive ink that reveals the phrase “So This Is” upon direct exposure to sunlight. Absent of light, the print returns to a state of invisibility, or a mere ghost of itself. Over the course of its lifespan (an unknown point in time) the phrase will eventually fix in a gradation of warm tone ink. The photograph is curious and comical with a clown like character at its center bathed in hard sunlight in a nondescript location. Its meaning and provenance remain a mystery. Like the silkscreen, it pulls the viewer in to decipher meaning, a relationship or clue. The works carry a durational quality, slowly revealing new sets of questions or inquiry over time.
Amongst the subtle similarities, the two share the form of an ellipsis – held up high by the costumed character in the photo and in place of the ‘o’ in “So This Is.” This is a critical gesture for Trepte as he refers to the ellipsis in linguistics as a strategy to question meaning through the omission of content. In linguistics, the ellipsis refers to the deliberate removal of one or more words in a phrase without the phrase losing its meaning (i.e. “Fire when ready” understood as “Fire when you are ready”). Meaning is understood based on context not necessarily on content. For Trepte, this elliptical construction serves as a new vehicle for approaching subject and thinking about how work is understood independently, in relationship to a pair or any given multitude. The viewer is asked to play an active participant in distilling these complexities.
Cody Trepte works primarily in drawing, printmaking and photography. His work investigates the nature of paradox, using historical narratives, language and appropriated imagery. Trepte has exhibited at Eleven Rivington, New York; Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Florence; Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles; Austin Museum of Art; Weatherspoon Art Museum; Kunstverein INGAN e.V., Berlin; and the Hammer Museum for the first Los Angeles biennial, “Made in L.A.” He has published writings in …might be good and The Highlights and recently curated the exhibition, “On the Line,” for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE). Trepte received a B.F.A. from New York University in 2005 and an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts in 2010.