IAN KIAER: TANYA BONAKDAR GALLERY BY MICHAEL WILSON
Art that springs from an immersion in historical research tends to reward the viewer ha inverse proportion to the depth and reliability of the findings themselves. It is as if, in championing some highly specialized or unjustly neglected cultural figure, the artist forgets his or her own responsibility to pose questions and becomes instead an amateur biographer who digs for the truth but is unable to communicate it in a form that is also art. On paper, British sculptor Ian Kiaer threatens to fall into this category, so it is a pleasant surprise when he emerges from the library with his own sensibilities not just intact but strengthened.
"Endless Theatre Project," Kiaer's US solo debut, is inspired by the architectural theories of Claude-Nicholas Ledoux and Frederick Kiesler, specifically their radical ideas about theater design. Both men wanted to bring the audience closer to the stage and make every aspect of a production visible to all. Kiesler's idea of "correalism" sought as well to broaden this original intention into an approach to the interaction of art and other objects with interior space, and architectural structures with their surrounding landscape. This, then, is the subject of Kiaer's homework, but it's equally productive to regard his study as one starting point among many--certainly not an arbitrary choice but not a restrictive one either.
In six modest tableaux, Kiaer combines found and modified objects with small models and paintings to conjure a quiet but insistent interplay of atmosphere and potentiality.