ML: An artist once asked me how being at The Kitchen and seeing a great deal of dance and
performance has informed how I now look at what gets called “visual art.” I feel it has changed the way I stand in front of an immobile work of art. I look at things not just with my eye; my experience has become as much corporeal as ocular. That seems to resonate with my experience of your work.
JK: This is an interesting idea. While watching you’re using “mirror neurons,” which aid your understanding of what’s going on in front of you. You get a familiar feeling out of just watching something that’s moving. And so, when you try to apply those principles to something that’s not apparently moving, it slows down perhaps.
ML: There is a way in which working in a highly site-responsive method is a choreographic
JK: Yes. Everything has its place. Showing up to a place with more than you need is usually a good idea. You can find an appropriate place for things to function and pairing down is the action. Once you have picked the amount of work you don’t have to worry about the density
of the room changing. It feels as if I am performing maintenance rather than creating anything. Also, the work has been far removed from its origin so that it takes a personal remove to rearrange it and make the show happen.
ML: What do you think of terms of like “reductive” or “minimal” art? Do they make sense to you?
JK: I try to make things that seem natural to their environment — that’s why I chose painting anyway. Trying to follow a lineage of thought is annoying. My interest was in why I was going to the space in the first place, and why these reactions were holding my interest. Self-examination? Cognitive dissonance? I don’t know.
ML: Your exhibition at The Power Station also includes an outdoor installation. Has working
outdoors changed how you are composing and underscoring space in the exhibition?
JK: The work outdoors may be nice. I live out West now and I leave my door open. When you come to California you should stop by. Anyway, the seating area outside in Dallas — that is, depressions laid into the ground — is meant to function as a humbling area for quiet thought among others. It is a slight homage to the experiences I had at Artpark in Lewiston when I was young and unaware of the multiplicity of values that a functioning object can hold and give.
ML: So is that a shift for you? Taking the triangulation between a single viewer, the object and the space, and now foregrounding the experience of the work as a group experience?
JK: This is a difficult progression for me. I have relied on one-to-one relationships up until this point. I am beginning to feel comfortable enough now to trust a group. Much of relying on primary experiences is relying on word of mouth. The piece made for sitting is simply a platform for idea building.
Matthew Lyons is Curator at The Kitchen, New York.
Jacob Kassay was born 1984 in Lewiston, New York. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Selected solo shows: 2012: Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; The Power Station, Dallas (US). 2011: ICA, London; L&M Arts, Los Angeles. 2010: Art : Concept, Paris; Sorry We’re Closed Gallery, Brussels; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (IT). 2009: Eleven Rivington, New York.
Selected group shows: 2011: “The Indiscipline of Painting: International Abstraction from the 1960s to Now,” Tate St. Ives (UK); “Four Rooms,” CCA Ujadowski Castle, Warsaw; Prague Biennale. 2010: Gwangju Biennale.