Cyclical Rejection & Viral Transformation
A literal reading of Ali Ahadi’s recent work
October 2012, curated by Mo Salemy
NEW YORK, 2008
Gareth James, a New York-based artist currently living in Vancouver, steals a bike from a location in the Upper Westside of Manhattan for exhibiting and an eventual sale of the artwork to an art collector. The stolen bike, alongside the broken lock and the photograph of the pole to which it was attached, is shown at the exhibition titled “The Real is that which always comes back to the same place: Broadway between 101st and 102nd Streets, New York, NY 10025, March 21, 2008″, at Galerie Christian Nagel in Cologne, Germany.
James donates an artwork titled “Lagmitz (PRIMBB)” to the fundraising auction of the Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Theory at the University of British Columbia . The piece is a Belgian linen stretched canvas wrapped perfectly in a plastic bag from Lagmitz Bags and Box Co., a retail supply shop in Brooklyn. Lagmitz bags are black with gold or silver diagonal strips printed on the one side. They are stronger than regular plastic bags and are often given to customers by liquor and home hardware stores for carrying heavy merchandise.
Ahadi buys James’ wrapped canvas at the auction with the intention of using it in a future project that would also involve James’ own bicycle. After receiving the 2012 AMS Gallery Annual Artist Residency Award, he begins working on the exhibition by synthesizing James’ explorations with bicycle and Lagmitz bag with his own work.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at stealing James’ bicycle, Ahadi decides to ask if he could borrow it for the exhibition. James agrees, so long as it is modified in the process of research and development of Ahadi’s own work.
NEW YORK, 2012
After finding Lagmitz Co. on the Internet, Ahadi orders and imports a large number of the bags for use in his exhibition.
For the installation, Ahadi covers the entire space of the gallery with Lagmitz bags, camouflaging James’s canvas on one of the walls. To fulfill James’ stipulation about the the bicycle’s transformation, Ahadi replaces its seat with the yellow plastic milk carton. He takes the name of the exhibition ad verbum from the yellow plastic milk carton that James has attached to his bike as its basket. The extra bags are left in the basket for the visitors to take home. At the end of the exhibition, both the bicycle and the original Lagmitz canvas by James are returned to him.