For his first solo exhibition at Kai Matsumiya gallery Craig Kalpakjian continues and expands upon his long-term investigations into social control, surveillance, architecture, and abstraction. Among the first artists in his generation to employ digital software in the creation of art objects, Kalpakjian simultaneously engages historical art discourses and contemporary issues. He takes up the themes of the seductions of technology and digital space from a critical position, questioning utopian potentials and suggesting its darker implications.
In the gallery’s first room is Projection, Reflection, Structure, Structure (Intermittent Control: event-driven multiplex), 2017, an installation that extends the themes of Kalpakjian’s 2016 Event-driven, open loop, Continuous control. Consisting of a moving-head spotlight, a lighting support truss, a mirror, and two inkjet prints the new work implicates the viewer, raising questions of who and what is being observed, or entertained. A monochrome print serves as a screen for the spotlight as it performs a programmed choreography of movements, while the second print presents a rendering in oblique perspective.
Three of Kalpakjian’s large-format monochrome prints are also installed in the gallery’s first room. Elements of earlier representational renderings are the starting point for these works, which are precisely articulated through the use of architectural software. At once solid, translucent, and reflective, these pieces use non-standard perspective and fall beyond expected optical schema, creating a sense of multi-dimensional abstraction within the surface of the print.
The second room is installed as a palindrome consisting of three different series of prints. Multi-axis grids and text excerpts concerning doubling and reversal are hand drawn in pencil then overprinted in black monochrome inkjet in an act of redaction or obscuration.
Kalpakjian remakes Josef Albers’s Homage to the Square in his series Untitled (after Joseph Albers), 2011-14, of which two works are on view in the gallery’s second room. Via the replacement of Albers’s revolutionary color studies with a palette composed of varying temperatures of light as offered within the constraints of architectural software Albers’s flat squares are transformed into three-dimensional hallways receding into space.
Also on view in the gallery’s second room is Intelligence, 2016–17, a third group of monochrome prints. The works in this series juxtapose excerpts from the instruction manual for the Sony AIBO robotic dog with declassified CIA and Army Intelligence interrogation manuals. Concurrent with the exhibition, Craig Kalpakjian’s first monographic book will be published by Sternberg Press. Also titled Intelligence, the book is an in-depth look at Kalpakjian’s work Black Box, 2002–13, which was recommissioned for the 2013 Montreal photo biennale Drone: The Automated Image.
Craig Kalpakjian has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and Europe. Recent exhibits including his work have been: “The Sun Placed in The Abyss” at the Columbus Museum of Art, “Artists’ Choice: An Expanded Field of Photography” at Mass MoCA, “The Optical Unconscious” at The Gebert Institute in Switzerland; “Drone-the Automated Image” in Montreal; “After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; “Entertainment” at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York; and “The Evryali Score” at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. He was chosen as the Teiger Mentor in the Arts at Cornell University for the fall 2016 semester.
His work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art In New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and has been featured in Blind Spot Magazine. He also regularly performs in the band Das Audit.