On the Cover:
Sook Jin Jo, Crossroads (detail), 2008. Installation and performance, Itaparica, Brazil. Photo: Courtesy the artist.
People frequently talk about the meaning of artworks, seeking to wrest answers from their viewing experience. The artists featured in this issue aim to frustrate the search for messages in art by organizing their efforts around questions. Using discarded wooden objects and other “humble” materials, Sook Jin Jo, who works between the U.S. and Korea, provokes questions about “people’s fixed concepts of what art is about,” a thought that also animates Guillaume Bijl’s installations. The Belgian artist transforms galleries into spaces that look like something else—a casino, a used car dealership, a marriage office—asking us visitors to discern the line between fiction and reality. Argentinian artist Luciana Lamothe, reflecting on her interactive installations made out of structural materials like scaffolding and pipes, says, “More than answers, I found a universe of information that allowed me to generate an infinity of questions and bring them into my work.” Allan Wexler blurs the line between architecture, the discipline in which he trained, and art. He makes de-functionalized objects that are often wearable. “I’ve evolved,” he explains, “from an architect who solves problems to an artist who instead creates problems to discover new truths, who asks, ‘Do we need to build new buildings, or should we question architecture?’” Jamie Hamilton employs such outlandish materials as dichroic glass and the rare earth neodymium to build otherworldly, machine-like pieces that cause one to ponder where in the universe they came from. In a sense, then, the work in this edition does what the most memorable art—and, we hope, all the art we highlight—always does: creates problems, inspires queries, and leaves you with a sense of wonderment. —Daniel Kunitz