From Marcel Duchamp to Guy Debord, “chance” has been a true ally of modern artistic production, an operation able to locate the creative act beyond learned behavior and ingrained patterns, beyond what the artist already understands. It is this process that Sean Landers has employed as a starting point for his recent painting series “Small Brass Raffle Drum,” from which this edition comes.
Using this old-school analogue apparatus as a randomiser, Sean Landers filled it with 300 small wooden cards, each marked with a different feature or ingredient that he’d located by looking back through his own past 25 years of painting production. Spinning the drum, he would then select seven cards to inform the composition of each new work. As such, the drum is capable of generating more than 40 trillion unique combinations – thus functioning as a kind of external brain – to which Landers would then react.
For “Buffalo Minotaur” cards included maze, sunset, buffalo, Minotaur, 1970s leather jacket, and Salvador Dalí and brought into the painterly field not only the autonomous associations these elements carry in their own right (whether via academic or pop cultural discourses, etc.), but also their specific past role within Landers’ own oeuvre: the Minotaur referencing a work he had based on a painting by George Watts that hangs in the Tate; Dalí bearing relation to Landers’ 2014 series of surrealist paintings; and so forth.
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