The Sun Placed in the Abyss
Columbus Museum of Art
October 7, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Artforum Critics' Pick
Aperture review

The Sun Placed in the Abyss is a group exhibition featuring 50 artists and collectives who, since 1970, have used the sun as subject to explore the historical, social, and technological conditions of photography, both still and moving. Borrowing its title from a poem by Francis Ponge, The Sun Placed in the Abyss tracks how the sun has been used as a metaphor from Conceptual art to the Pictures Generation to current practices.

The exhibition is divided into three thematic sections. In the first section, “Archaeologies of Knowledge,” artists re-contextualize pictures of solar phenomena from the nineteenth century to today, reflecting on the intertwined histories of photographic technologies and scientific inquiry. The second section, “Into the Light,” showcases artists who have pointed their camera directly at the sun or used sunlight as a medium. In the final section, “New Romantics,” artists incorporate images of sunrises and sunsets to highlight issues of aesthetic taste and the material conditions of photographic technologies, from postcards and tourist snapshots to magazines and cell phones. The romantic trope of the rising or setting sun becomes a poetic mediation on the politics of photographic representation and meaning.

The exhibition includes works by Dove Allouche, Sarah and Joseph Belknap, Sarah Charlesworth, Anne Collier, Linda Connor, Tacita Dean, Jan Dibbets, John Divola, Shannon Ebner, Buck Ellison, Sam Falls, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ryan Foerster, Dan Graham, Yuji Hamada, Rachel Harrison, CJ Heyliger, David Horvitz, Matthew Jensen, Craig Kalpakjian, Kikuji Kawada, Matt Keegan, Mathias Kessler, Barbara and Michael Leisgen, Jochen Lempert, Zoe Leonard, Sol LeWitt, Mary Lucier, Aspen Mays, Chris McCaw, Lisa Oppenheim, Catherine Opie, Trevor Paglen, Anthony Pearson, Richard Prince, Walid Raad, Dario Robleto, Susan Schuppli, Hugh Scott-Douglas, Simon Starling, A.L. Steiner, Yosuke Takeda, Diana Thater, Wolfgang Tillmans, Artie Vierkant, James Welling, T.J. Wilcox, Letha Wilson, and Hiroshi Yamazaki.