The artist engages his alienation | Art Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The artist engages his alienation 

Erik Wenzel's "Fresh Fat" at 65Grand

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Môtiers Wallpaper by Erik Wenzel

Môtiers Wallpaper by Erik Wenzel

A couple years ago Erik Wenzel objected when somebody at Time Out Chicago called him a "local artist and critic." "Local" connoted provincialism, Wenzel argued, and "critic" was pejorative—"like you aren't even a writer." For his new show, "Fresh Fat," Wenzel is choosing to call himself an "alienated observer" of both art and life (right there with you, buddy). The exhibition expresses and explores that alienation.

Wenzel looks at how modern life is "mediated by technology," as in a video projection that features footage, shot with an iPhone, of the "ever changing" neighborhood his father grew up in. He also considers technology's impact on social interaction. A single photograph from the show—a pastoral, could-be-anywhere snapshot of the Swiss countryside—will be available to be downloaded for desktop wallpaper. Thus an image specific to Wenzel's memory is vacuumed of meaning and given away on the Internet. There'll also be a display of objects left over from when the artist moved out of his old apartment. The gallery plans to sell the items on Craigslist.

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