In its origins, the sculptural work of Lewis & Taggart aligns with instances of serendipity. The artists channel narratives generated by subtle coincidences and amplify the eloquence of happenstance. These mobilizing accidents are not chosen freely from the panoply of lucky or eerie collisions that occasionally unfold at the fringes of day-to-day reality, but rather are filtered by a rigorous framework of required features—a framework that is not so much intricate as animate.
Lewis & Taggart address material that is purposeful yet transitory. Their work is frequently catalyzed by small ephemera, which move through the world along arcane networks of marketing and trade that are impossible to witness. Like migrating birds, these printed items and expendable contrivances often travel great distances without our hardly noticing, to perform the tasks for which they were created. Sometimes these objects eddy into storage and other accidental collections, or the artists catch them on the brink of disposal. Appearing by some unique chance, the objects enter the artists’ archive as impulses awaiting expression.
To serve the work of Lewis & Taggart and not just their original function, these objects must operate on two nuanced levels of signification. Their design should possess formal qualities resonant within a language of geometry and abstraction, and their emergence from the muted economic system in which they originally circulated should occur in a manner that is both compelling and unexpected. A matching set of letter-sorting “breaker” cards mistakenly left in the artists’ mailbox, for example, or the frets of a smashed guitar found in a park in Helsinki.
Again and again, works by the duo employ doubles or objects in pairs. In this way, Lewis & Taggart elaborate upon the material they discover by applying questions related to the problem of duality: how to be similar but different; how to be the same and also changing; how to be one thing and also another thing. Using associative reasoning and word games—partly droll, partly earnest—the artists find strategies to coordinate the overlapping tensions that arise from these questions and their implications. If buoyancy, then gravity. If overtness, then indirection. If longing, then failure. These diverging elements both harmonize and compete with each other, and never resolve.
As the objects advance toward their expression as artworks, the energy generated by the varying qualities of formal and narrative tension is symbolically transmuted into architectural potential and manifested as sculpture. Each work in Sculpture from the Block represents a feat of coordinated pluralism, converging on a moment of balance. Once channeled into a state of complex stillness, the multiple tensions of the works continue to be activated by their own internal conversations, ultimately evolving toward a stable paradigm of fluidity.
- Mark Mann
Andrew Taggart and Chloe Lewis have worked together within the framework of the artist duo Lewis & Taggart since 2006. In 2010, they received a unique collaborative MFA from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway, and their work has since been exhibited at venues such as Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Syntax, Lisbon; The Drawing Centre, Oslo; Entrée, Bergen; ISCP, New York City; The Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; and Kunstverein Leipzig, Germany. They have been granted numerous awards and residencies, including the 2016 Canada Council for the Arts Künstlerhaus Bethanien International Artist Residency in Berlin. In parallel to their studio practice, Lewis & Taggart operate The Museum of Longing and Failure (MOLAF), a collecting entity that takes shape through ongoing sculptural conversations with fellow artists and collectives.
The artists would like to thank Natacha Chamko, Yan Giguère, and Peter King.