Yuji Agematsu “1995 & 2003”

Miguel Abreu Gallery (88 Eldridge St.)

poster for Yuji Agematsu “1995 & 2003”

This event has ended.

Stone is stone. War is war, says Yuji Agematsu with certainty, bending down suddenly to collect a rhinestone pressed into a piece of chewing gum off the New York sidewalk. For over thirty years, Agematsu has walked the city’s streets daily with his attentions acutely turned to the mundane and the overlooked, to the detritus of urban life. What began as a simple gesture of acculturation, immersing himself in the very materials and infrastructure of a foreign city, has developed over decades into a unique form of realism. Instead of an identity cut through by the pervasive contemporary forces of mediation, differentiation, and alienation, Agematsu has discovered a knowledge of the local—of the reciprocity of the particular and the communal—that evinces the vital interconnectivity of person and place through our regular processes of waste and regeneration. In this way, Agematsu’s work doesn’t encounter change and decay as phenomena in need of suspension, but rather as elements of the delicate permanence of social life, as a poetics of renewal and continuance.

1995 & 2003 traces a near-decade of crucial evolution in Agematsu’s practice. Showing the emergence of his widely recognizable zips—arrangements of daily sculptures contained in cigarette box cellophane wrappers and displayed in monthly configurations—the current exhibition premiers a year’s worth of sculptures derived from walks and presented in bags backed with a steel plate in the artist’s typical calendar formation. More taxonomical, the 1995 ziplocs operate in a different mode of observation than the subsequent 2003 zips, articulating the collected objects with a greater emphasis on their discreteness. Held tightly within the ziploc’s plastic sleeve, these almost clinical stagings appear like examination slides or even investigative evidence. They express a peculiar material distance, not so much the ecological selfsame relation of artist and object in Agematsu’s more recent work, but more the opaque, even aloof eye of the detective. Not unlike surveying a crime scene, the ziplocs offer an eerie access to the unfolding life of the city. As a catalog of chance encounters, they echo the constant lament of the present: where have I found myself, what has happened here before me?



from May 01, 2019 to June 21, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-05-03 from 18:00 to 20:00


Yuji Agematsu

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