The Sun Is Your Enemy
Opening Reception 16 March 7-10p
16 March - 8 April
R/SF projects is thrilled to present The Sun Is Your Enemy, a solo show of new work by San Francisco-based artist Christopher Squier. Comprising sculptural elements from resin-encrusted fabrics to recontextualized expatriate photos intermixed with myriad natural and artificial light sources, Squier investigates a panoply of sociopolitical issues linked by visibility and resistance. An opening reception will be held Friday, March 16 from 7-10pm, with a sound performance taking place at 7pm sharp.*
Squier retools the materiality and aesthetics of light as a metaphor for perception at large. Upon entering the gallery, viewers are greeted by a nearly 18 foot hanging LED fixture which emanates a vibrant glow atop a corresponding rectangle of powdered titanium dioxide (a pigment found in stars and now used in everyday materials such as sunscreen, paint, and food coloring). From above, its matte aluminum casing mimics the interference patterns of light waves, extracted from physics textbooks, to contrast the distinctly artificial luminescence with both the imagery of light itself, and the material byproduct of celestial bodies—effectively analogizing the forms of light as we know it. Where the fixture transports what is characteristically overhead lighting to its position nine inches off the ground, three gaping holes cut into the gallery flooring further this endeavor to reposition light as a central object rather than mere context. Here, submerged bulbs intermingle with ducting and architectural detritus, adding an archaeological angle of excavation and layered history that reveals the artist’s propensity to ground each piece with both narrative context and site-specificity.
Squier further turns to the curvilinear forms of Fresnel lenses, once the most cutting-edge technology behind maritime navigation and naval lighthouses, to spotlight social tools of power—as well as segue into dialogues around surveillance, and even colonialism. Dual eight-by-five foot flags draped across the gallery’s façade windows and an aluminum print at the top of the stairs depict varying concave and convex lenses, hinting at the invisible actors behind dominion and control. On the back gallery wall, an opaque glass text piece reads “COMMITTEE FOR PROTECTION FROM LOUBOUTIN,” echoed by several others housed in an archival display upstairs. Reappropriating absurdist Russian protest signs known as monstrations, the works call to loophole behaviors used to circumnavigate legal complications where illegibility and ‘invisibility’ are rendered as effective as direct action. Here, Squier serves to document these ephemeral gestures and give them permanent form, assuming a citational role that deftly blurs the line between artist and curator.
The exhibition inserts itself into a trajectory of artists refashioning light as a medium, specifically those linking its materiality to sociopolitical contexts, as it relates to notions of identity and personal history. In this way, Squier’s utilization of charged objects as anecdotal conduits and history as a ready-made recall the likes of Danh Vo, while the open-ended nature of the work and queer underpinnings bear semblance to Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Squier encapsulates countless would-be forgotten tales into a veritablewunderkammer, allowing viewers to draw connections between the stories in an over-arching meditation upon how we navigate the world.
*Fundación Nites will present a work that blends sound, translation, and performance. Visual and aural elements reveal various transmission styles of literature, speech, and chorus. In response to Squier's positioning of light-as-material, Fundación Nites’ work moves towards sound-compressing-experience.
CHRISTOPHER SQUIER (b. 1991, Lawrence, KA) is a San Francisco-based sculptor. He has exhibited across California, as well as in Boston, MA; Córdoba, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; and Trondheim, Norway. Squier’s work is in the collection of the Prague Gallery of Czech Glass (Czech Republic), and LKV (Norway). His extensive residency history includes La Fragua (Spain); All That We Are (Tasmania, Australia); Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder (Norway); and he is currently an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin County, CA). Squier was the 2015-2016 Kadist + SFAI exhibitions fellow, is an Editor for Dissolve Magazine in San Francisco, and is a featured artist in the upcoming publication Saudade for the Expatriate Archive Centre (Norway).