Gandalf Gavan
Gandalf Gavan
May 12 - June 23, 2007

Larissa Goldston Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in New York of work by Gandalf Gaván. The exhibition will be on view from Saturday, May 12 through Saturday, June 23, 2007. There will be an opening reception for the artist on May 12 from 6 to 8 pm.

Gandalf Gaván’s work questions the widely held idea of art as a cultural reflection or representation of the contemporary state of humanity. Rather than accept this definition, Gaván’s work reveals his deep ambivalence about any imposed definitions or structures. Taking the definition as a starting point for his creative investigations, Gaván explores several of the mechanics at work in the creation and presentation of art, including notions of identification between the artist and the viewer, the subjectivity of interpretation, and the tactics of representation and abstraction.

The exhibition consists of two related bodies of work. The main gallery is filled with a series of constructed, framed works that incorporate drawing and sculptural elements, often extending outside or breaking through the picture frame. Employing various fields production, including printmaking, painting, colored pencil and graphite drawing, as well as mixed media collage using found materials, these multi-layered works are neither drawings nor sculptures. In the artist’s words, “the works are neither what they refer to historically and formally, nor are they not that.” While they evidence the artist’s explorations of the aforementioned issues, and his experiments with challenging accepted norms in art, they also convey a lyrical and almost improbable beauty.

Gaván’s interest in a process that elicits and reflects the subconscious is evident in the intermeshing of elements of printed mass media with colored abstractions and tactile physical materials such as plaster, feathers, tar, hair and glass. The effect can be read as a reflection of the artist’s own inner thoughts and emotions, on display for the viewer to identify. This also references the “politics of the gaze” in art, especially through his exploitation and abstraction of pornographic found images.

The more physical installation works that occupy a part of the main gallery and the smaller gallery, take Gaván’s experiment a step further, so that the “notion of art as reflection has become literal.” These installations, which incorporate hand-made warped mirrors, neon and glass sculpture, painting and ephemera, no longer display the artist’s externalizations or reflections to the viewer. “Every object is referent as well as autonomous, and the overall environment… reverses the normal point of view.” The mirrors’ refusal to give a Cartesian perspective results in the viewers’ gazes activating their own images and abstractions, which are different and dependent upon their particular vantage point. Gaván comments that “it should be a space of visual finite infinity. In the end, one’s own reflection acts as an agent of the image as well as the agent of seduction... one’s own pornography of visuality.”

Gandalf Gaván was born in Berlin, Germany in 1975. He received his BFA from Bard College in 1998, and his MFA from Columbia University in 2005. He has taught printmaking and sculpture at Columbia University and in 2005 received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. Gaván has exhibited at museums and galleries around the world, including in Spain, Germany, Austria, Peru, and Mexico, where he had a solo exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Oaxaca.

Larissa Goldston Gallery is located at 530 W 25th Street, 3rd floor. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm. For more information, please contact the gallery at 212-206-7887 or visit

Larissa Goldston Gallery