Josh Kline

Keep The Change (Texas Roadhouse Waiter’s Feet with Shoes), 2018

3D printed sculptures in plaster, ink-jet ink and cyanoacrylate; ceramic plates, wooden tray stand

Dimensions Variable

Edition 1/3 + II AP


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Artwork
Description

Josh Kline’s darkly humorous practice is grounded in an exploration of humanity’s fascination with efficiency and technology which often occurs at the cost of our very nature. His work exists at the uneasy crossroads between the enchanting sterility of technological progress and the crude corporeality and baseness of human existence, exploiting a mixed language of both; part mall and part morgue.

Keep the Change suggests that the current societal and economic structure, which is so invested in the efficiency of labour and life, leads to the emotional and personal disintegration of the worker. With the use of 3D printing, Kline literally fragments the worker’s body, creating grotesquely comic polymeric replicas of human limbs. Here, human flesh is aligned with food, a disturbing equation which renders the foot as distant from the human as the plated steak from a cow.

Hands are the age-old symbol of the labourer, but Kline goes further than to simply invoke the Marxist paradigm of alienation, producing a work that is more insidious in its suggestion of complicity. For Kline, 3D scanning and printing is not just a manufacturing technique, but a metaphor for how we upload our personal data to online databases, creating a myriad of immaterial clones. We dismantle ourselves onto the internet, pixelating and dispersing our bodies and minds. Kline takes this to its logical conclusion in Keep the Change: projecting a dystopian future in order to prevent it. It is not for nothing that the words ‘WARNING AVOID INJURY’ beam up from the table in black and yellow: the viewer would do well to heed Kline’s advice.

About
the artist

Josh Kline (b. 1979) was born in Philadelphia; he now lives and works in New York, as a curator, collaborator and artist.

Josh Kline aligns his art with the philosophy of post-humanism. Spanning a wide variety of media with specific focus upon the technologically innovative, his art has an ergonomic sensibility. It is centred upon the ability of humanity to function efficiently within its working environment, with corporeality being marginalised in favour of digital expressions of selfhood.

The beating heart of his work is found in the human obsession with an abstract future and the obsessive desire to project onto this imagined existence. It is quintessentially sci-fi that exists as an expression of the contemporaneous obsession with progression; it is a statement of art’s ability to exist at the frontiers of scientific advancement and simultaneously a warning against the potential to strip one’s humanity away to better function within a technocratic society. Kline opposes the often-held belief that technological progress is necessarily positive. There appears to be a commodification of the individual, forced to operate as a near superhuman machine, enhanced by caffeinated drinks, drugs and accessories. In his work human productivity is improved at the cost of ones humanity: technological progress comes to serve societal means over the personal and creates a society, which enables the production of commodities that do not truly benefit the masses.

There is an interesting duality in Kline’s work, as the strongly theoretical foundation marries itself to the concrete world it inhabits. There is a tendency to circumnavigate artistic intellectualism and to ignore its inherent historicity. As a result his oeuvre opens a discussion which transcends the art industry, contextualising the works in terms of the present, and this is reflected in his curatorial practice. Integral to understanding his work as an expression of post-humanist theory, is an attempt to escape from the past. His work exists within the expanding intersection between the sterile syntheticism of technological progression and the primordial corporeality of base human existence; it is an expression of the modern obsession with mass media replication and the importance of digitisation.

This idea is best noted in the contrast between his works, such as Living Wages  that features bacterial cultures continually reproducing, and his sculptures, such as  Ready to Wear, that are so easily reproduced by 3D printing techniques. These two contrasting elements represent a real human fear, embodied within the principle of bacterial fission. These living sculptures can only reproduce to the point that there are available growth factors; once these diminish the bacteria also dissipates. This is a warning against the industrial reproduction of technology that consumes great amounts of human and inorganic resources; if it is not carefully monitored and managed, it can potentially approach an apocalyptic teleology. In this way Kline’s work questions the technological juggernaut as an entity that endangers existentialist humanism.


There is an interesting duality in Kline’s work, as the strongly theoretical foundation marries itself to the concrete world it inhabits. There is a tendency to circumnavigate artistic intellectualism and to ignore its inherent historicity. As a result his oeuvre opens a discussion which transcends the art industry, contextualising the works in terms of the present, and this is reflected in his curatorial practice.

This idea is best noted in the contrast between his works, such as Living Wages  that features bacterial cultures continually reproducing, and his sculptures, such as  Ready to Wear, that are so easily reproduced by 3D printing techniques. These two contrasting elements represent a real human fear, embodied within the principle of bacterial fission. These living sculptures can only reproduce to the point that there are available growth factors; once these diminish the bacteria also dissipates.


Josh Kline
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

November 1st, 2018 until
January 6th, 2019
Curated by ARTUNER