The exhibition designed by the artist for the Institut d’art contemporain is a specific project paying a tribute to Sol LeWitt after the death of this great exponent of minimal art. Joe Scanlan uses his own vocabulary to address the relation between his work and Sol LeWitt and minimalism.
Born in 1961 in Stoutsville (Ohio, USA) and a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago (1985), Joe Scanlan lives and works in New York. An artist with an international reputation, Joe Scanlan has had many solo exhibitions (Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris, 2007; Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp, 2005; IKON Gallery, Birmingham, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2003; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1998) and group shows (Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid, 2007; Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Mudam, Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2006; Baltic Art Center, Vilnius, 2005).
Joe Scanlan became known in the 1990s via his very special appropriation of conceptual art. Preoccupied by the production of objects that seem to be related to everyday life and by affirming a micro-economy—by way of recycling, or do-it-yourself and crafts—he aims at creative subjectivity that can gain a position in the capitalist economic universe. In addition to the fact that it combines functionality and plastic specificity, his DIY aesthetics favours objects that are mobile, adaptable or even reversible according to context and use.
Beyond the conceptual aspect of the work, Joe Scanlan's approach clearly seems to be imprinted with preoccupation with the temporary nature of things, the fugitive reality of images, objects and lives and is marked with the strong idea of a crossing.
The artist's research in recent years seen in sculptures and drawings centred on certain seasonal processes—such as the formation of snowflakes (Snowflake drawings) and reconstituted forsythia— reveal his constant reflection on transient and ephemeral states. This poetic dimension is tending to gain increasing importance in Joe Scanlan's work and is always combined with a notion of critical spirit and independence.