Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fallen and Found exhibit by Daniel Laskarin reviewed by Debora Alanna


“… it is also true that without flashes of the absolute, which are granted to only a few, humanity would proceed in the dark, indeed it would not exist, because it would not acknowledge itself to itself! And as far as I know the flash as never preceded by explanations or preambles, and only a very small mind… could fail to understand thateternal aspirationabsolute and that the work is the relative, that to create is already to circumscribe; that to comment is to circumscribe the circumscribed, is to subdivide the divided; is to reduce to minimum terms, is to annihilate.”

~‘Boccioni, his artist statement on the ‘flash of the Absolute’: his lecture ‘La Pittura Futurista’, at the Associazione Artistica Internationale, Rome May 1911; as quoted in “Futurism”, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 55

Daniel Laskarin’s current work, fallen and found, is currently installed at the Deluge Contemporary in Victoria. In the Carl Andre sense, Laskarin is a matterist. However, Laskarin enjoys manipulating materials, which Andre might have misunderstood. His sculptures, two that are ground oriented, one upright or erect, an ostensible homage to Donald Judd, with Laskarin’s further development of stacking, several wall mounted assemblages, sculpted poems with a video projecting in a continuous loop above the descending staircase (yes, Duchampian) is an oblique inclination of the never ending need to search for import and the inevitable escalation of searching, reiterating the unrelenting process. fallen and found articulates Laskarin’s investigations regarding ideas about fallen, falling and found, finding.

Laskarin, a meticulous craftsman, delineates with precision. Found objects inspire, are utilized and are transported away from exact definitions or the exacting credence that found objecthood imports.  His virtuosic use of materials coruscates with his brilliancy. He incorporates his own designs with objects that transgress their original use. He espouses colour, especially through material effecting strategies, changed states occurring with acid or gumming. Donald Judd referred to ‘specific objects’ being neither paintings or sculpture, but more credible than either segregated discipline. Laskarin’s work remains sculpture, surpassing Judd’s hold on exclusion, although cleaving to the integrity of the indefinable. Laskarin articulates the palpable absolute with integrity, rigorously eclipsing definitions, while gleaning the nuances of the fallible, the lapsing, defeat, the culpability of the indefatigable - fallen and the search, epiphany of discovery, initiating, establishing and advancing, grounding - found.


fallen - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found - Deluge 2014.

~photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin


fallen - Daniel Laskarin – detail.

fallen and found - Deluge 2014.

~ photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin

fallen is the reversal or the inside out of vented fury. Laskarin externalizes the outcome of unremitting discharge materialized as a traumatized munificence, a substantial rectangular aluminum shell insinuatingly raised slightly off the floor. The elongated lozenge casing surface has been commandeered with a barrage of jagged punctures, impelled pock marks jut out of the berated work, out of the seduction of baked powder coated aluminum. Eruptions mar, trounce outer surface continuity, consternating the subdued gleam of the crust. Vigorously ballistic, the sculpture braces intensity by barrelling the work’s surface with demonstrative wincing, roughly connecting unresolved seams that torque alignment. Conclusive, the work’s ends are enclosed denoting a temporal extent.

Low, Laskarin has inserted a slender, sleek core secreted within the containment. The strategic plane of dark metal unhindered by internalized bombardment asserts an enigmatic terseness.  The impervious, immovable crux of being a continuum survives in spite of salvos, assails that yields as downfall. Disorderly, heavy routing and censure cannot affect vital focus.


failure of flight - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin


failure of flight - Daniel Laskarin - detail.

I now note that ordinarily I am concerned with, focus my attention upon, things or ‘objects,' the words on the page. But I now note that these are always situated within what begins to appear to me as a widening field which ordinarily is a background from which the ‘object' or thing stands out. I now find by a purposeful act of attention that I may turn to the field as field, and in the case of vision I soon also discern that the field has a kind of boundary or limit, a horizon. This horizon always tends to ‘escape' me when I try to get at it; it ‘withdraws' always on the extreme fringe of the visual field. It retains a certain essentially enigmatic character. ~ Don Idhe (1976) [1]

Poised on a wall, an elongated structure of velvety proficiency shelves a lumpity, leaning bronze casting of a miniature rocket with the debris of the mould making, purportedly an unacceptable result. failed rocket, recalcitrant in its positioning, explicating the out of sight, out of mind arrangement, articulates a stubborn resistance to expose refractory results of the cast while upholding the chunky amalgamate as a prized relic of 60s prosperity bolstered so we may venerate its survival. Laskarin sets the laden shelf just above average eye level. He backs the presentation shelf with an extension of the aluminum plaque to apportion commemoration. The object and mass is charming and endearing in its roughness, the uneven texture, the bumpiness and incline. The metal melds together with the rocket while complementing the rocket form, stretches the irregularity. Its shelf support is exquisite. The construction, the flawless cutting, the petite screws with their precise placement and execution, the effect is as enigmatic as divine perfection.

Laskarin’s failed rocket is an analysis and interpretation of failure with an absence of deduction, a refusal to be hypothetical. There is no ‘what if’ in his assumptions or reckoning. He adduces the idea of failure, the fact of the molten artifact is evidence of his analysis. He stretches our visual horizon and we must strain to evaluate the material shape and configuration on display. We do assess his rocket and matter, whether it is indeed failure because failure is enticing, the admission of failure intriguing because it is a human proclivity. We wonder if the little rocket will fall over. Laskarin presents the consequence of failure, the cost of conquest. Rockets are for triumphs in space. failed rocket is a crooked bird, with anomalous residue on a perch. The consequence of failure is diminishment. The cost is detriment.

Intent to make a whole, faithful rocket, however small, presupposes there is a problem, if the attempt at creation of the intended object fails somehow. The issue and quality of the failure contributes to defining the goal by way of the failings of the piece, its blighted look, disturbance in the expectation of a mission or behavior as an enduring symbol because of its instability. Problems are great catalysts for revelation, motivation, ideas. Each aspect of failing can generate all kinds of possible new developments. Yet Laskarin chose to place the failure as deliberate conclusion, a testament to failing. The end result, although incidental or accidental, is an inspired result. There is nothing wrong with failure. Failure is the object, objectified. failed rocket elevates us, transporting us to a heightened awareness of failure’s tenure as a enduring fact. With a boost, the homely, unpretentious casting asserts perspective. The gruff reconsidered, it becomes a heartening upshot, an experience to be sanctioned since failure can be a soaring enterprise.


for a broken tree - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin

As scientist Sheldon H. Geller explains, “scientific research cannot prove anything…it disproves error.” By contrast, the perceptive artist learns how to repeat and magnify his errors in order to create his own distinctive style for sharing new truth.

~ ABC of Prophecy: Understanding the Environment, Barrington Nevitt, 1985, pg. 77

Preserved on a shinny blood red square, a trio of precisely executed inspection gadgets hold a leafless broken branch preserved in ecru gummy material giving the surface an uncomfortable coating, preserving the sticks with a viscosity resistant to drying forces. Twigs stretch beyond the sanguine shape, daring to challenge the influence of the flat, mottled surface. Clear of the inspection, twigging our interest as a declaration of life beyond science fascinates in this appealing challenge of discomfiting scrutiny.  We are drawn to the defiance of restraint. The inspection tools hold in lively alignment and seem to animate the struggle to hold the branch in place. for a broken tree indicates that Laskarin is offering his work as an intention towards, an offering for a broken tree.  He has us think about the correlation or relationship to brokenness as opposed to wholeness. Imperfection, split apart, incompleteness is examinable, with a tussle. Striving for autonomy under the duress of inspection allows defiance and independence from impassive scrutiny.

Being broken isn’t that bad and is only a small piece of the whole tree, does not destroy the tree. Laskarin’s work explicates the fight from oppressive enquiry, and ascertains severing the branch might be a way to point to a divergence that is on an adjacent, imagined reference point. This work is a hopeful reframing of the self-preserving veneer to hide and necessity of acknowledging the usefulness of imperfection. This may not be an olive branch, but the work wrestles with the undertaking of examination, titling the work as a peace offering for the endeavour of breaking and critically studying the tree part. Laskarin shares with candor his awkwardness experienced through his exploratory process. He displays his cheerful confidence that examination is vital (bold red ground), and even sanguinary (exactitude of the holding arms), while acknowledging the source of his discoveries with deference (title), allowing the escape of the branch to pass beyond the safe, articulate space of the square. A tree might be broken, but in it is not ruin.


for an uncertain support - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin

Our thinking tends to circle around established conventions whose basis is forgotten or obscure. Nietzsche proposed that the attainment of knowledge requires a ‘solid, granite foundation of ignorance’ for its unfolding: ‘the will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful will: the will to ignorance, to the uncertain, to the untrue! Not as its opposite, but – as its refinement!’

~ 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck, 2006, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, New York, pg. 3

Poured epoxy resin evokes translucent smoothed ragged glass, is forward of a flat, silky but slightly impatient muriatic acid treated aluminum foundation. The deleterious, caustic agitation peeks through the resin pour of the lucid, undulating scrim. The grounds support a centrally secured forlorn, difficult and sincere “r” cast entity with its bottom speared with dense grey epoxy, heart shaped.  The splodging is high relief, realizing the value of and releasing invigorating spontaneity. A square, diminutive shield is screwed in the lower right corner a little unevenly just off the construct asserts intellectual obligation, balances the work with a dripping line of epoxy on its top, a gestural stripe.

Laskarin confounds assumptions about what support is, what uncertainty is and how they interplay in for an uncertain support. The combined aluminum/resin ground layering with the top torn surface incomplete depends on the metal divulging a willful substantiation below. The metal allows the resin to articulate whimsy, the wavy edging of the folio stubbornly unruffled. We cannot define the focal point in this work. It is the inscrutable stronghold of not knowing. Without the mysterious, strange, unspecified protuberance at the centre of Laskarin’s sculpture, an excrescence, anything that grounds - exacting aptness, discerning clarity is lacklustre, monotonous, imposes but in an insubstantial fashion - giving but a nod to the empirical, the logical as the wonky patch fixed in the lower right. It doesn’t fit well, overhangs but must be present, just because it is a consideration in grounding.  The mass, seemingly sticking out from the ground ends up grounding all the rest, enhances all other considerations, cultivates heartfelt elementals. Laskarin gives credence to, and tenders uncertainty as the quirky, endearing initiate of reflection, a willful codicil.


for the passing of years - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~ photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin


for the passing of years - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

In all the cities of the world, it is the same. The universal and modern man is the man in a rush (i.e. a rhinoceros), a man who has no time, who is a prisoner of necessity, who cannot understand that a thing might perhaps be without usefulness; nor does he understand that, at bottom, it is the useful that may be a useless and backbreaking burden. If one does not understand the usefulness of the useless and the uselessness of the useful, one cannot understand art. And a country where art is not understood is a country of slaves and robots.

~Notes et Contre Notes, Eugene Ionesco, pg. 129

A 20 year old bunch of carrots, a cluster of very dry vegetables dominates for the passing of years. Offside, a suspended family heirloom, a 1930s wooden top is suspended with strapping that might harness aircraft wiring, a staunch binding, an unwillingness to ever let go of the momento. The top plumbs like a stopped time piece pendulum. The posey of veg roots dance, relief at their liberation from 2 years in an abandoned crisper, and their subsequent 18 year stint on the studio shelf awaiting Laskarin’s inspiration for their use.  His application, the pairing of unassuming and discordant items, illustrates how he can take advantage of the transitory to explain the futility of discomfort at time passing because, although long left and nearly forgotten, a bunch of dried carrots and a toy can be a focus within a new, haptic space, immersing us in the reciprocity that what might have been may touch us differently than what might be or is within this playful abandon. Laskarin touches us with serendipity. Behind the main structure plate is a slide, moving the scenario forward and backward, allowing time to reconfigure.

Laskarin celebrates objectivity, detachment that is interdependent with subjectivity, a predisposition of the artists’ love of “objecthood”. We can assess objects he displays with acuity and insight, he objectifies time passing through phenomenon of desiccation, disuse, wearing, the judicious stop of a top. We bring a subjective consideration to this palpable contrast. Material realities juxtaposed bring us affectionately to embrace his poetic celebration of time passing.

for the passing of years explores complacency about the ordinary, the ordinariness of time. Laskarin utilizes the unassuming as a source of time’s presentment.   The work demonstrates how passing of time can activate the serendipity of conjuncture.  He employs unpretentious bunch and bob to wield memory’s subservience in the insubstantial continuum called time. The items together are revivified, and play within ineffectual memory, temporizing our presumptions about disuse and uselessness. Redefining memory’s inferences and oddities come together to root derivation, plumbing the qualities of effects, references to humanity. Laskarin puts a spin on the ambiguous, fleeting nature of time and plays with the inexactitude of cursory assumptions.


for Chartres - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin

Beauty, like loving, sometimes seems a kind of crisis. It brings us to the crossroads and thresholds of the perpetual choosing. Immediacy thus impels us.

The recognition of beauty is part of the soul’s flow.

~ Mystic Trudeau: The Fire and the Rose, B.W. Powe, Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto, Ontario, 2007. pg. 215

Gold leaf on heat formed plastic, aluminum sheeting with an acid stain, screws observing the whole. for Chartres is so much more than a sum of its parts. The gold form is ecstatic, the stain weeps. The screws eye you. In conversation with the author, Laskarin recounted how he and his family heard Mozart’s Requiem in rehearsal in the Chartres Cathedral, and with his daughter scaled the North spire. Bernini’s folds come alive in this work. It’s Deleuze’s fold: ‘from the fold of our material selves, our bodies - to the folding of time, or simply memory’. ([1])

The gold billows wondrousness. Raised from the platter, the awe becomes factual, the truth about the experience of beauty. The adjacent stain is the crisis of knowing, the instability of dwelling on the sublime. Laskarin willingly surrenders to the swell of excruciating perfection, eminence that is impossible to sustain but ever cultivates and coats future considerations. The work is a requiem for aspirations held dear and their treachery, an elegy for waking to loveliness, manifest and culpable, allowing intensity to be residue for continuation.


for the briefness of flight - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~ photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin

The stereotype of the bohemians as jolly fornicators, roisterers and barflies is superficial because it completely ignores the significance of Excess. If Bohemia was a journey as well as a destination, it was a journey in the dark to a land of danger as well as pleasure. It promised a path along the edge of a precipice, and it was impossible to know in advance whether that path led to revelation or madness, triumph or oblivion. The point of Excess was ultimately not self-gratification, but self-discovery, or sometimes self-destruction, as Baudelaire expressed it, ‘a taste for the infinite.’ The deadly sin of Bohemia was not Lust or Gluttony, but Hubris – the pride of Daedalus, who courted death by daring to fly.

~ Bohemians, The Glamorous Outcasts, Elizabeth Wilson, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2000, pg. 195

In his book, Abstraction and Utopia Now and Then Reader LLC, Nov 15, 2011, Chapter 111, Hilton Kramer quotes Tatlin:  “A revolution strengthens the impulse of invention.” With respect for Vladimir Tatlin’s, Corner Relief (1915), for the briefness of flight examines a revolutionary precept far from the Russian Revolution’s need to revolutionize social disparity and affect a new world sensibility. Laskarin’s insurgency is his internal analysis, infiltrating and advancing his complex sensibilities about change. He excises the introspection for our reflection. Laskarin’s helicopter pilot career brevity, his response to that career and his resulting views regarding his career change is likely central to the work’s traits, its arrangement, positioning, and delivery.

Centrally secured with more scientific examination apparatus, Laskarin designates a found and empty hummingbird nest to the forefront of his work, high so one can barely see into it, reminding us of the hummingbird’s relation to helicopters and that seeing into other’s privileged sanctuaries is a defiance of privacy, although Laskarin allows this although we must strain to achieve the altitude necessary. The empty nest has lost its original purpose, is desolate, grows lichen. The lower nest is spackled with harsh yellow plastic material used to insulate tool handles is the application of the excess of reinforcement, rewarding and punishing. The violence to the nest confuses the idea of preciousness and reinforces the integrity of the papery husk with vehement insistence.

Behind the fore, Laskarin layers clarity with the opaque, translucence with cloudiness. A curved horizon of clear plexi window, harkening a helicopter cabin window exposes what is a conglomerate of allusions to helicopter engineering, aircraft substance. Backgrounds intersects horizontality and verticality. The far ground is tampered with, crimped, bent, bearing the evidence of incident. The middle ground, softened with acid is spare, defending the damage behind it as the caustic action is mitigated with time.  Vertical, sandwiched metal crosses with the widened plexi horizontal. Interceding, Laskarin mediates the safe place (nest) and dangerous space (ground) with the transformative plexi view that is handsomely secured by smartly contrived steel clips. The emblematic nest provokes, reflecting on the curvature every which way, together with those poking holding arms. The ground verticality incites and disquiets accountability’s hold on rationality.

for the briefness of flight is about the invisibility of a personal journey. The work is about remembering the daring to soar with what one initiates, discovers. It is about critically examining, assessing that which fosters and develops what one desires, the heights one is capable of and abandoning the secure refuge of nurture, demarking it as a dangerous place to land, a vulnerable return. Laskarin screws together reflection and retrospection. His work is concise as the abiding feat of flying is brief, but the tangents of assessment, the inspection arms are departure points to fly to new realms of finding, of sighting, of intention. He frames intrepid exploits with its dangerous fragility.



fallen and found –Deluge 2014

~ photo courtesy Daniel Laskarin


found - view 2


found - view 3

“Now man that alto man last night had IT–he held it once he found–I’ve never seen a guy who could hold so long.” I wanted to know what “IT” meant. “Ah well” laughed Neal “now you’re asking me im-pon-de-rables – -ahem! Here’s a guy and everybody’s there, right? Up to him to put down what’s on everybody’s mind. He starts the first chorus, he lines up his ideas, people yeah, yeah, but get it, and then he rises to his fate and has to blow equal to it. All of a sudden somewhere in the middle of the chorus he GETS IT–everybody looks up and knows; they listen; he picks it up and carries. Time stops. He’s filling empty space with the substance of our lives. He has to blow across bridges and come back and do it with such infinite feeling for the tune of the moment that everybody knows it’s not the tune that counts but IT—” Neal could go no further; he was sweating telling about it.

~ On the Road: the Original Scroll, Jack Kerouac, 2007, Viking. Pg. 304

Lurking low, down, Laskarin’s two part work, found is sculpture that began as an idea found within something else that was left for a time in his studio. Time is utilized to determine what was once one thing is, with reconsideration, sustained evaluation, revamping, and then, presto-chango... Voila! Eureka! There it is. It is found.

found is a duality, the symmetry of validation and invalidation, the interchange between yes and no, what it is, and what it is not, here and there – on and off ad infinitum. The work is Gaudier-Brzeska’s mountainous sculptural energy, with the definition of masses by planes (sculptural ability). (‘Blast’, 1914) found can be pondered with Rosalind Kraus’ discussions of base/no base work, absorbing the base/ marker – logic/ontological absence – not-landscape/not-architecture. (Sculpture in the Expanded Field 1979, essay reprinted in Artists, Critic, Context by Paul F. Fabozzi p. 283-289)

One part of the cut and bent aluminum panels recurrence is on a flat rectangle, ostensibly a plinth, the other has been placed directly on the floor. Each echoing with one edge touching the surface underneath and the opposite part held up by posts - identical mirror images of each other back to back. The work on the floor seems larger. But it is the same. The low plinth isolates the work on it from the rest of the world. The work on the floor looks like it is in the world, living an existential existence. The part on the plinth feels ceremonially presented, paraphysical, a parody of itself.  found contains multiple contradictions.

Each looks like an abstracted bird folding its wings, birds’ beaks (origami), birds grounded – one on one off the jetty, and/or mantles of mortality. The parts look like architecture without the possibility of accommodation or shelter. Introverted, one needing the other and back to back each part of the work holds the other’s place. The on the plinth off the plinth stance gives definition, raises questions of why, and what does the here and there mean. We must look down, and stay looking down to sustain the view – across from other parts of the room isn’t enough. We encounter the process of finding concluding with the found. One comes to think of the lifting, cantilevered edges as a double peer and we must circumvent one peek to view the other. The work is demanding, compelling us to examine and re-examine. found requires we appreciate the complexity of metal folding from the sheered aluminum, the striking sexiness of surfaces. We are bound to meet the challenge of seeing each piece as exactly identical and we must test this questioning by walking around and around the work, seeing the raising, the formations, the shadows that enhance and perplex in their complication. We must rectify any presumptions about the pair being merely tipped metal objects, one on a metal rectangle.

The process of finding the fundamental nature of existence, advancement of comparisons within ourselves, echoing, the anticipation of unadorned disclosure, time arrested to allow the finding are all considerations within found. Barnett Newman named the presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity regarding ideas, aesthetic acts (art) that encompasses ideas as an epistemological paradox. He said the pure idea is ‘Not space cutting nor space building, not construction nor fauvist deconstruction; not the pure line, straight and narrow, not the tortured line, distorted and humiliating; not the accurate eye, all fingers, nor the wild eye of dream, winking; but the idea-complex that makes contact with mystery – of life, of men, of nature, of the hard, black chaos that is death, or the grayer, softer chaos that is tragedy. For it is only the pure idea that has meaning. Everything else has everything else.’ [2] Laskarin reveals shrouding and its deflection, double death incising with his multifaceted, lively mystery shadows with the chaos of either or, with the soft grey of tragedy, cut sharp and hard.  Laskarin finds it, and it is multipart, a compound, mirrors. It is in the nature of finding, it is found. He tags us, children in the game of hide and seek, looking for some (one) entity in the search for meaning - tag, you are it, too.


stack - Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014


stack – detail – Daniel Laskarin.

fallen and found –Deluge 2014

Water jet cut layers, capably welded, sander ground, muriatic acid etched, stack stacks memory captures. Catching snaps of derelict places, abandonment, emptiness, incidental glances into anonymous existence, a hefty podium for chance detection and a revelation of urbanity, stack shelves a few photos for the public to finger, browse. We do reluctantly touch, with trepidation. stack is both self-important and significant, detaining us, holding us with this commitment to see what’s being stored without any direct or apparent indication that we might become or indeed be revealed as a photographic capture held for posterity, too. We might see ourselves, be seen, be held. More disconcerting, we might not be acknowledged, or more severely, removed from the stack.

Laskarin establishes a provision to view peripatetic discourse through the layering and informal retrieval of documented finding. His cachet, documents of found glimpses is an incessant endeavour. The repository establishes the weight of holding on to the storage of ubiquitous finding, setting up a provision for continuing existence, what is extant, although the views (photos) of the finding, what is found are interchangeable. The tranquil grey work presses with abstemious insistence to convene photographic responses. stack is grave, a subdued tribute to finding, once found arbitrarily shelved. Rendered with exactitude, stack shows the serious responsibility of holding onto the found.

This work is access to the weighing of fallen and found, an epitaph commemorating time’s residue. The upright time piece chinks equably, firmly registering gauging what can be found, keeping us from falling. 


[2] The Picture, Barnett Newman, New York, Betty Parsons Gallery exhibition catalogue, 1947. Reprinted in Theories of Modern Art, Herschell B. Chipp, University of California Press, 1968, pg. 550


Daniel Laskarin

fallen and found

January 31 to March 8, 2014

Deluge Contemporary Art

636 Yates Street
Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 1L3

Review by Debora Alanna

1 comment:

  1. Great to see Daniel's work and the meaning behind it. His ostensible master craftsman ability is proven yet again. I would love to see a retrospective show of his works.