16 Sculptures

Artist: Travis Jeppesen
sound | Mixed media | 2014

In addition to his work as a novelist, art critic, and poet, Travis Jeppesen has developed what he terms “object-oriented writing”—writing that enacts a subjective, embodied encounter with and response to art objects. Jeppesen’s texts treat objects as inhabitable. By positioning his own voice within the object, he counters nearly all forms of critical analysis that assume a distance from objects in order to speak about them; as he observes, “Something that is located within an object can never be ‘about’ that object—aboutness is always external.” Here Jeppesen invites visitors to put on a pair of blacked-out sunglasses and listen to recordings of five of his object-oriented re-creations of sculptures from the series 16 Sculptures. Depriving us of our usual faculties for experiencing works of art—sight and visuospatial reasoning—Jeppesen’s work stages encounters with objects through language that nonetheless retain the texture of embodied, physical experience, proposing an imaginative realm in which he attempts to summon the autonomous essences and interior lives of objects themselves. On the occasion of the Biennial, Jeppesen has published a book of his texts for 16 Sculptures; a marathon reading of his novel The Suiciders (2013), published by Semiotext(e), will be held at the Museum on May 9.


Whitney Biennal 2014 | 2014.03.07 - 2014.05.25 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)