ARS LIBRI 10
November 6 2009 – January 3 2010
Dan Fischer’s work could easily be mistaken as taking part in the language of appropriation of mimicry. On a superficial level, yes, he is copying from photographs in art history texts, magazines and the like – usually portraits of artists, or sometimes images of their work in the studio. But the act of copying is not about irony, or about “the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction a la Walter Benjamin by way of Warhol or Richard Prince. There is too much precision and craft in Fischer’s exquisite graphite copies. Indeed, if there are art historical antecedents for his practise, they are to be found not in Pop or art-school smug, but rather in the Louvre or the Gemäldegalerie. Otherwise, how to account for not just the use of a grid system to aid the copying, but for the fact that the grid is left in the drawing, as it has been from Alberti to Peter Greenaway’s piquant Draughtsman’s Contract?
In turn, the labor of meticulous craftsmanship is as much the subject of Fischer’s work as are the photographs he copies. These drawings are a homage to the practise of drawing, an homage to the artists nominally represented by these drawings, and an unabashed obsession for how the images of the images of artists can outlive and come to shape how we see and remember the originals themselves.