GUTTENBERG – Guttenberg Arts Gallery is presenting “The Impossible Lightness of Being,” a solo exhibition of works by Chad Stayrook, on view Oct. 7 through Nov. 4. “The Impossible Lightness of Being” is an installation built around the form and function of a simple paper airplane. The opening reception is on Oct. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m., with an artist talk at 8 p.m.
Stayrook is currently an artist in residence at the gallery. His works focus on the struggle to find meaning, happiness, and salvation, and combine his expectation of failure with the fantastical wanderings of his imagination to create a world that is as believable as it is strange and impossible.
The title of the exhibition is a nod to Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” which examines the concept of eternal recurrence and the weight of meaning (purpose) in our lives. Similarly, the exhibition plays with the weight of meaning as pertains to objects when presented in a context outside of their assumed function.
The paper airplane is a familiar and playful object often associated with lightheartedness and clowning around. However, in the context of the exhibition this form becomes the pedestal that bears the weight of art. The centerpiece of the installation is a wooden frame built in the shape of a paper airplane. This structure becomes the support for a video monitor that shows the paper airplane in its ideal (albeit impossible) state as an elegant form in endless flight. A series of unfolded paper airplanes represents recurrence and/or attempts at perfection and repetition, while also highlighting inescapable flaws inherent in analog handmade multiples. Stayrook’s ceramic airplanes are an inevitable impossibility. Their floppy materiality highlights the gravity that holds their fate to the ground. Their function as art outweighs their function as planes since an attempt to fly them would ultimately mean their destruction.
Stayrook is based in Brooklyn. His work has been shown internationally, printed in several publications, and he is co-directing Present Company Gallery with Brian Balderston and Jose Ruiz, as well as collaborating as Really Large Numbers with Julia Oldham.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (201) 868-8585. Guttenberg Art Gallery is free and open to the public by appointment. www.guttenbergarts.org