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Todd Christensen
ART.i.factory Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Jordan Eddy

Todd Christensen, "Observing the Withdrawn" (detail) 2015, installation

Continuing through January 4, 2016

"I've been forgetting a lot lately," writes Todd Christensen in a note scrawled on an old book cover. At the bottom of the makeshift diary page, some long-dead librarian has stamped the word WITHDRAWN in blood red ink. What Christensen lacks in his hippocampus, he makes up for in his actual attic. His new exhibition "Observing the Withdrawn" is spillover from his extensive collection of printed ephemera that is nailed together on the wall in an undulating flow. These books are jetsam from libraries and flotsam from rummage sales and thrift stores. They are torn apart and repurposed with abandon for Christensen's neurotic contemplations and sinewy images.

The installation fills up this intimate space and projects out from the walls with the help of decidedly low-tech cardboard boxes. Etchings of peculiar characters wander past drawings of forlorn objects and bounce against the cover art of vintage tomes. In this multiverse, books are torn from the hands of their authors to become vessels for personal and cultural contemplation. We are forced to consider our fear of loss — of objects, memories and youth — by surfing the folds of Christensen's delightfully twisted brain. The modular element of the installation, with the books serving as individual panels that can be pulled apart and sold off to collectors, multiplies the odd connections among them, which heightens the tension between them as discrete versus collective elements. The visual experience was made to be destroyed, and its undoing is measured by our desire to possess pieces of it. It's Christensen's universal message, and his idiosyncratic joke.


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