Daniel Crooks
Truths Unveiled by Time

13th August – 27th September 2014
Anna Schwartz Gallery

The under­stand­ing of time as a con­stant, uni­fied and quan­tifi­able phe­nom­e­na is a con­ve­nient one. To ques­tion this expe­ri­ence quick­ly rais­es exis­ten­tial prob­lems, to which sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy offer a vari­ety of con­so­la­tions. Zeno’s para­dox of Achilles and the Tor­toise describes the impos­si­bil­i­ty of the swift runner’s attempt to over­take even the slow­est oppo­nent who start­ed ear­li­er; as the first to begin will always hold a lead. This of course requires the steady evap­o­ra­tion of time. Descrip­tions of any form of time invari­ably involve the illus­tra­tion of par­tic­u­lar kinds of move­ment, and in Daniel Crooks’ ele­gant sculp­tures, time is like­wise locat­ed phys­i­cal­ly, mate­ri­al­ly, in space.

The 3D-print­ed and CNC-cut objects in Truths Unveiled by Time’ are the man­i­fes­ta­tion of move­ment, cap­tured and repro­duced. As in the video works he is known for, here Crooks has gath­ered from life a set of data, iso­lat­ed and recon­fig­ured in a way that reveals the motion of a plane as a three-dimen­sion­al vol­ume. The ini­tial research for this body of work was devel­oped over a num­ber of years, before the tech­nol­o­gy required to achieve it was avail­able. Ear­li­er this year, Crooks was invit­ed by Ars Electronica’s Future­lab in Linz, Aus­tria, to work on pro­duc­ing a new kind of 3D slic­ing cam­era’. This research enabled him to record, at high speed, a sequence of detailed cross-sec­tions of a mov­ing sub­ject. The result­ing data was then accu­mu­lat­ed into a mod­el, a kind of time-stack, to be realised using com­put­er con­trolled fab­ri­ca­tion techniques.

The actu­al, phys­i­cal objects describe dis­crete points of the artist’s con­tin­u­ous motions in space extrud­ed through time. Hav­ing exper­i­ment­ed with these sys­tems by track­ing his own move­ment, Crooks has pro­duced works that con­verse direct­ly with his ear­li­er Imag­i­nary Object videos, and his ongo­ing series of pho­to­graph­ic self-por­traits that are made by join­ing the stilled frames of a mov­ing video camera.

Despite the specif­i­cal­ly syn­thet­ic mode of man­u­fac­ture of these first sculp­tures by Crooks, using intan­gi­ble data to shape plas­tic and polyurethane, the fin­ished mate­ri­al­i­ty evokes a range of more famil­iar, organ­ic sub­stances such as porce­lain, milk, or bone. There is also, of course, the direct visu­al cor­re­spon­dence of these works to mar­ble, that clas­si­cal mate­r­i­al of mon­u­ments, val­ued for its resis­tance to the wear of the ages.

Indeed, Crooks’ exhi­bi­tion title refers to one par­tic­u­lar work from the canon of West­ern sculp­ture. Gian Loren­zo Bernini’s Truth Unveiled by Time, an alle­gor­i­cal work, is famous as much for its state of eter­nal incom­plete­ness, as for its sculptor’s mas­tery of rep­re­sent­ing dynam­ic motion in sta­t­ic stone. Begun in 1646, the work was intend­ed to depict the male fig­ure of Time unveil­ing the female fig­ure of Truth; but eight years lat­er, Berni­ni had halt­ed work on the piece, hav­ing com­plet­ed only the seat­ed nude form of Truth beneath a float­ing veil. Time, it appears, has remained impos­si­ble to define. By his absence he is all the more vis­i­ble, and the rev­e­la­tion is reversed.

Leav­ing time aside, as Berni­ni did, the def­i­n­i­tion of truth sim­i­lar­ly becomes ques­tion­able. Crooks even sug­gests a plur­al: Truths. How true-to-life can a repro­duc­tion be, when it is made in the age of post-lens imag­ing? To explain Crooks’ works as iso­lat­ed moments of move­ment, from life’, is to ignore the inten­sive medi­a­tion that hap­pens at each step of the import, accu­mu­la­tion, pro­cess­ing and export of infor­ma­tion. Their verac­i­ty is as medi­at­ed as Bernini’s, and the process of CNC cut­ting not dis­sim­i­lar from the sub­trac­tive process of chip­ping and pol­ish­ing stone. The idea of print­ing’ an object is still a nov­el one. Crooks’ works pic­ture a kind of real­i­ty that has been impos­si­ble to even visu­al­ize with­out the use of tech­nol­o­gy. They show phe­nom­e­na that the unas­sist­ed human eye can­not per­ceive. But they do this in a way that qui­et­ly insists that these phe­nom­e­na are not unre­al, that per­haps oth­er real­i­ties exist, if only we had the means to see them; because with­out see­ing, we are unlike­ly to believe.

Images

Daniel Crooks

Truths Unveiled by Time #1, 2014
Polyurethane-coat­ed foam
Three pieces, 1345269 cm overall

Daniel Crooks

Truths Unveiled by Time #2, 2014
Polyurethane-coat­ed foam
Two pieces, 27015 cm and 30015 cm

Daniel Crooks

Truths Unveiled by Time #3, 2014
ABS plastic
Three pieces, 722219 cm overall

Daniel Crooks

Truths Unveiled by Time #4, 2014
ABS plastic
Three pieces, each 1204 cm