This high, no higher…

Michael Zahn, Ladder, 2017

“As a book is adapted for the screen, so the screen adapts the world. Reflecting this, Zahn’s practice situates itself within a new genre where quotation has succeeded appropriation, and abstraction becomes mimesis. In Zahn’s universe, images are largely elided in favor of form and color, and this exhibition is primarily comprised of monumental to medium-format monochrome paintings in hues reminiscent of Post-It notes, mobile phones, Mac desktops, and peripheral devices.” MIKE ZAHN Adapter_Adapted &etc. September 26 – November 4, 2017 Press Release

This far. This high. This much. No further. No higher. No more.

This is the Ladder. This is the structure every Artist must climb in order to have a part in our Modernist economic culture. It allows us to do what we do in order to “exist” as “artists.” But the truth is that the Ladder doesn’t really promise much – just a show or two, a sale, a magazine article, an art fair. And what this adds up to is a life of professional calculation climbing those same three steps over and over again. You punch the clock, do your time, apply for the position. It’s the fucking ladder and if you want to be a part of the art world – you do what it takes. Get your ladder and start…

Michael’s ladder is handmade from scraps. It’s not something that he ordered, bought or paid for. It’s not got the qualities of some Home Depot, collapsable, portable, machine made tool. It doesn’t come with a swifty logo or an upgraded color scheme. No. Michael saw exactly how the thing worked and built it himself from scratch, from scraps and leftovers. And there on the top step, once you’ve reached the end of your climb, you look down to see the bars and know that you can move no higher. You have been incarcerated using your three step plan.

This Ladder won’t break down in pieces. It won’t fold away nicely into the rows of shelves of your collection. It won’t look “good” in a perfectly designed apartment. This Ladder might suggest the way in and up, but for Michael this isn’t real. In order for the life of an artist to be real it must be experienced for its own reasons, from its own sources. The real Ladder must not be Art. It must be unsellable, unwanted and therefore without price – priceless. It has to be this thing, my thing, the only thing that’s real in this gallery, in this studio, in my mind. My. Fucking. Ladder. And it’s the most perfect thing I have seen in a long time.

“It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” Joan Didion

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