“Surrender to the Diagram”
Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture
University of Houston
March 2nd, 5:00-6:00pm with reception at the Blaffer Art Museum to follow.
New York-based artist Matthew Ritchie presents his new performance-based work, “Surrender to the Diagram: Toward a Complete Theory of Picture.”
“Surrender to the Diagram” is a movement-based performance-lecture developed by Ritchie in collaboration with students from the UH School of Art and College of Architecture within the framework of the seminar “Diagrammatic Visualization in Art and Theory” led by UH art history professor Dr. Natilee Harren. In the presentation, students are invited to become a living history of diagrams, referencing an operable dimensionality.
Ritchie presents diagrams, seen and hidden, as the pivotal mental architecture for exchange between the expansive spaces of prediction, memory, fantasy, language, metaphor and instruction. Looking at diagrams can help us question scale, distance, proximity and imagined immunity that define our use of shared informational spaces. By proposing new conventions of connection, these diagrammatic movements hope to reinvigorate theories of picture and extend the possibilities of agency within them. The exposed, enacted, diagram is a trace of our collective efforts to articulate and negotiate that almost impossible circumstance—reality itself.
This presentation forms part of Ritchie’s ongoing project to explore the diagram as an essential mode of artistic practice and offers both an artist’s history of the diagram and a partial overview of its status, presence and use today. Variants of this project have been installed at the Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork. A related text focusing specifically on Graham Harman’s diagram has been published in Realism Materialism Art (Bard CCA, 2015). An artist edition published by the Getty Research Institute is forthcoming.
Ritchie’s visit is part of “Till Now: Contemporary Art in Context,” a lecture series co-hosted by the UH School of Art and Blaffer Art Museum’s “Innovation Series.” “Till Now” brings leading voices in the field of contemporary art to the UH campus for public lectures, seminar discussions and studio visits with graduate students in studio art and art history. The Blaffer’s “Innovation Series,” now in its 5th year, explores the role that the arts play in providing a bridge to widely different disciplines, and underscores the importance of cross-disciplinary dialogue.
“Till Now” is supported by an Innovation Grant from the Houston Endowment with additional support from the Creative Writing Program and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. Funding, in part, is also provide by the University of Houston’s Student Fees Advisory Committee.
Matthew Ritchieʼs (b. 1964) installations integrating painting, wall drawings, light boxes, performance, sculpture and moving image are investigations into the complex and transient nature of information. His works describe generations of systems, ideas and their subsequent interpretations in a kind of cerebral web, making ephemeral and intangible theories of information and time concrete. Ritchie has engaged in many cross-disciplinary collaborations, extending his own projects to explore the possibility of shared systems and aggregations in contexts as diverse as opera, contemporary music, architecture, horticulture, urban design, theology and science.
Ritchie’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide, including the Whitney Biennial, the Sydney Biennial, the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Seville Biennale and the Havana Biennale, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other institutions worldwide, including a permanent large-scale installation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently a professor in the Graduate Visual Arts Program at Columbia University, New York.