York Chang: The Signal and the Noise

york chang

April 13 - July 20, 2019

York Chang: The Signal and the Noise considers relationships between images and text, and ways in which collective action is influenced by public spectacle and new forms of propaganda. In this project, Chang employs mixed media strategies, appropriating newspapers, graphic displays, found images, and sculpture, to create an immersive environment with artworks that question how information is disseminated and consumed.

Chang considers what artist Hito Steryl has referred to as a prevailing condition of groundlessness in our present moment, where the social foundation for political belief systems has lost stability, and in which images compete for relevance across a sea of data, registering some patterns of information as truth (the signal), while other important information gets dismissed as invalid (the noise). The exhibition include works such as a collapsed balcony, signaling a lost horizon line, a floor piece comprised of thousands of photo-collages of images drawn from political, cultural, and mass entertainment sources, and constructed newspaper clippings that co-mingle excerpts from poetry, fiction and cultural theory.

As the boundaries between entertainment and politics collapse in our visual environment, aesthetics in political images can work to desensitize the viewer to the pain and suffering of others, or it can overwhelm through distraction and spectacle. But aesthetics in politics can also bring attention to covert disasters, transmit the emotional weight of narratives of oppression, and clarify moral truths. Chang’s exhibition questions how we find our bearings, how do we find truth in poetry, prose, and reportage when they all exist on the same groundless plane, when we may all be descending together in freefall.

Trained as both a lawyer and an artist, York Chang’s (b. 1973, St. Louis, MO) visual art practice employs strategies of collage, décollage, redaction and interlineation as interventions into information systems, often appropriating legal contracts, books, archives, documentary films, and newspapers for use as material in his projects. Chang’s work is concurrently on view in a solo exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), and he has exhibited his work at Commonwealth & Council, Greene Exhibitions, Samuel Freeman Gallery, Charlie James Gallery, 18th Street Arts Center, LACE, MAK Center for Art & Architecture, MassMOCA, and Edel Assanti. He is a 2014 California Community Foundation Fellowship Grantee.

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