PARA-REAL

An exhibition curated by Magdalena Sawon for 601Artspace


Trevor Paglen, They Watch the Moon, 2010, 38 x 40 in.

November 13, 2013 – January 25, 2014 (EXTENDED to February 8)
Opening reception: November 13, 6-9p
Round table: February 5, 7-8:30p

Installation views


Para-Real puts together seven pairs of artists whose works—all in distinctly different ways—destabilize the notion of reality through models, illusions, fakes, virtual constructs, appropriation, dioramas, puppets, re-made objects and paranormal phenomena, staged or real.

Model environment
Thomas Demand – Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

Household items
Jim Hodges – Robert Therrien

Virtual reality
Eva and Franco Mattes – Shamus Clisset

Is this a real Richter?
Vik Muniz – Greg Allen

Smaller than life
Maurizio Cattelan – Sally Smart

Natural history
Hiroshi Sugimoto – Adam Cvijanovic

Smoke and mirrors
Trevor Paglen – Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson

“Because memory and sensations are so uncertain, so biased, we always rely on a certain reality—call it an alternate reality—to prove the reality of events. To what extent facts we recognize as such really are as they seem, and to what extent these are facts merely because we label them as such, is an impossible distinction to draw. Therefore, in order to pin down reality as reality, we need another reality to relativize the first. Yet that other reality requires a third reality to serve as its grounding. An endless chain is created within our consciousness, and it is the very maintenance of this chain that produces the sensation that we are actually here, that we ourselves exist.”
- Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
- Albert Einstein

“Reality: What a concept!”
- Robin Williams

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
- Philip K. Dick, VALIS

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you're just a reflection of him?”
- Calvin and Hobbes

Magdalena Sawon is a co-owner/director (with Tamas Banovich) of Postmasters Gallery, founded in 1984. Over the course of the gallery’s nearly 30-year history, she has organized over 200 exhibitions. www.postmastersart.com

Further reading:

Para-Real in The New York Times
Blake Gopnik on Sugimoto's Golden Eagle Diorama

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