About

In CIRCUMSCRIBE, Rindon Johnson’s first institutional solo show in Europe, the artist examines material and conceptual forms of circulation and containment in relation to capital and consumption, privileging language, images, bodies, and technologies. Alongside existing paintings and sculptures, the exhibition features new videos and virtual reality works, a site-specific livestream installation, and a soundtrack produced in collaboration with Milo McBride. The meaning of the verb “to circumscribe” is manifold: it refers to restriction, to setting limits and keeping within bounds, as well as marking and framing, or to drawing a figure around another touching it at points. Both definitions imply spatial demarcation—gestures whose benevolence and violence depend on context and point of view. Johnson’s inquiries begin with language and return to it through the titles of his works, each of which emerges through the constant triangulation of poetry, the video or object, and the viewer. For Johnson, language is not supplemental but an integral part of each piece—it is just one of the many found, appropriated, recombined, and composed materials he uses to ask questions about agency and power. In this collision of language, object, and viewer, Johnson explores complex hierarchies that structure our societies, challenging their legitimacy and legibility. He does so by introducing radical subjectivity and intimacy to the work and by indulging in moments of ambiguity and ambivalence. Through language, Johnson draws attention to the often invisible but acute violence that permeates his—and our—lived experience. Meaning, however, is obscured and continually deferred; each articulation is thereby also an act of refusal: a refusal to comply and a refusal to disappear. Instead there is a desire to overcome the binding states, the containers, and categories that define our current moment. CIRCUMSCRIBE is part of HORIZONTAL VERTIGO, a year-long program at the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION in Düsseldorf and Berlin, curated by Lisa Long.