John Gerrard at Simon Preston

John Gerrard Cuban School John Gerrard at Simon Preston

Cuban School (Community 5th of October), 2010

There is something eerily mysterious about John Gerrard’s images. They look like desolate, ordinary landscapes; an oil rig or an abandoned building, but they are actually virtual sculptures, carefully built with skilled technicians and a complex software program. Currently on view at Simon Preston Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side, Irish born artist John Gerrard presents his most recent major work, Cuban School (Community 5th of October), shown as a large scale double-projection.

Cuban School (Community 5th of October) 2010 is a portrait of an existing building, situated in the countryside outside Havana. Constructed in the 1960′s to a modular Eastern Bloc design, the school is, though actively used and home to 75 school children, essentially a ‘functional ruin’, disinheriting its formal integrity through entropy and decay. The site continues the artist’s interest in modular, pre-fabricated structures, questioning their resilience and capacity to exist as potent entities once complicit resources are depleted or removed.

John Gerrard John Gerrard at Simon Preston

Cuban School (Community 5th of October), 2010

Working from extensive photographs and topographical satellite data, the artist and studio have hand-built a meticulous virtual world, a portrait, over which the artist has an unprecedented control. Through an unflinching camera orbit, and 365 day cycle, the viewer is encouraged to both assess the melancholic demise of a political vision, and as importantly, the extensive methods used to prolong the usefulness of its artifacts.

John Gerrard lives and works between Vienna and  Dublin. He received his BFA from the School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford University and an MFA from the  School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Recent solo presentations of Gerrard’s work include John Gerrard: Animated Scene, a collateral project at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2010) and Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2010). Oil Stick Work, a major long-term public projection for Art on the Underground, is currently on view at Canary Wharf underground station in London for a full solar year, until May 2011.

John Gerrard Facade John Gerrard at Simon Preston

Cuban School (Community 5th of October), 2010

John Gerrard Lufkin John Gerrard at Simon Preston

Lufkin (near Hugo, Colorado), 2009
Images via JohnGerrard.net

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One Comment on “John Gerrard at Simon Preston”

  1. william Says:

    there is something also unfortunately familiar about John Gerrard’s photos of desolate and abandoned institutions of higher learning but they can easily be found in Kentucky, Atlanta, New Orleans and many other mid-western cities in the US. The concept of socialism is said to have failed in Cuba but it seems the US policy upon it’s own citizens is based solely on a capitalist democracy where only the dollar is equal.

    “They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?”

    -Fidel Castro

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