A Minimal Doubt
Vincent Chevalier, Still from “GPOY Fountain (After Bruce Nauman),” 2012, Animated GIF
Bringing together recent works by Vincent Chevalier, Shan Kelley and Andrew McPhail, A Minimal Doubt explores themes of loss, desire and slowed-down futurity by placing minimalism in dialogue with HIV/AIDS today. These artists animate cross-sectional readings on poz status and aesthetic value, introducing a potential deferral of ‘self-knowledge’ through queered forms of language and text. A minimal doubt moves away from older modernist aesthetic principles that emphasize the absolute importance of material consistency and the decisive, specific use of form. Instead, it explores the contingent formalisms that belong to everyday experience, a shift that introduces a certain unraveling identification of the [queer] speaking subject. Here, the title and working concept for the exhibition - a minimal doubt - expresses a particularly useful tension.
When we state that doubt is minimal, it evokes a kind of implicit hope. At the same time, the utterance of this term points to a kind of productive skepticism whereby the forces of inaction, obsolescence and ambiguity remain at the center of the discussion. This exhibition is not meant to offer an essentialist account of the contemporary HIV/AIDS experience, or even to ground it in familiar, detached narratives of queer resistance. Rather, it underlines a deconstructive sensibility that reaches beyond the logic of ‘queer representation’ – namely, the discursive reproduction of a consistent, entrenched brand of identity that depends on the assumption of a shared script of intergenerational struggle.