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Press Release: Ghostwriters


A Collaboration between Tyler Coburn & Sebastian Craig
July 11 - August 10, 2008
Jack the Pelican Presents

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 10, 7 - 9 PM
Gallery Hours: Friday-Monday, 12 PM - 6 PM

The first collaboration between New Yorker Tyler Coburn and Londoner Sebastian Craig, "Ghostwriters" is an imaginary account of Brooklyn narrated in drawing, architecture and prose. Building upon the work of Robert Smithson and W.G. Sebald, among others, Coburn and Craig will transform Jack the Pelican Presents into a sparse visitor center, populated with an evolving array of objects and interventions, including Craig's projected, 3D models of the gallery space; oversize, folded halftone prints of local buildings; and a binder filled with text documentation of improvisatory performances that Coburn staged, at Craig's request, throughout the neighborhood.

The collaboration is long overdue: Coburn first met Craig in London in 2006 at i-cabin, a project space and publisher the artist oversees. In i-cabin's peripatetic activity and in Craig's work, which has been exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Coburn observed refreshing, innovative approaches to institutional critique. So after completing his first New York solo show, this past spring at MARCH Gallery, and rounding out screenings and exhibitions at CRG Gallery and Gavin Brown's passerby, respectively, Coburn invited Craig to collaborate.

Much as Washington Irving invented an extended history for the young Dutch colony, in his novel Knickerbocker's History of New York (1809), so Coburn and Craig consider the need for new myths, woven apace with the city's cycles of destruction and development. Through an ongoing, transatlantic exchange, in which Coburn meticulously describes the environs particular to Jack the Pelican's borough, Craig envisages a place he has never been - and that, for him, is synonymous 80's hip hop films, images of graffiti and The Cosby Show . Craig's ensuing drawings, ideas and instructions are translated by Coburn into the exhibition as objects, texts and propositions, caught halfway between imaginative minimalism and descriptive excess. Theirs is an architecture conceived to occupy a point in the constellation of projects drawn atop the map of the borough, but one which inclines towards the notional: offering hypotheses, not answers.

In Italo Calvino's novel Imaginary Cities (1978), Marco Polo describes to Kublai Khan the many metropolises of his empire with such fanciful language as to suggest that each place may, in fact, be one of infinite outcomes of any given city. Coburn and Craig treat this condition of compossibility as integral to metropolis and exhibition alike and imbue the conventionally static form of the gallery show with ongoing products of their correspondence. "Ghostwriters" thus tells the story of its life, and like a text (and like a city), its account is subject to revision and amendment, obfuscation and revelation.

Like any text and any city, the exhibition has a grain, along or against which it may be read. To read along it is to observe much of what has been described in the paragraphs above. To read against is to discover a hidden side of this story: an array of off-site drawings made, often illegally, throughout the neighborhood. Curious visitors may inquire as to their whereabouts, though seeing them may require those willing to transgress the limits of the public city.

We invite you to read along and against.

Departing from the standard tenants of appropriation, Tyler Coburn approaches his disparate subject-matter as an actor would his script, adopting various competencies of artistic skill in restagings that flatten, toughen and defamiliarize his sources. Tyler holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Yale University and has exhibited with The Centre of Attention, London; Galerie Ben Kaufmann, Berlin; and Gavin Brown's Passerby, New York. His debut New York solo exhibition was held at MARCH Gallery in Spring 2008. Coburn is a contributing editor to ArtReview and a staff writer for Rhizome.

Sebastian Craig is an artist and the director of i-cabin, which is a project space, publisher and author. His practice is concerned with the transferal of information into architecture and the generation of an ongoing dialogue on artistic intention. Sebastian has an MA in Interdisciplinary Design from Central St. Martins and a BA in Fine Art from Byam Shaw School of Art. Recent shows include "La Commune", Serpentine Gallery, London; "Satellites", Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; "What is it?", Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; and his solo show "Notional Architectures" at i-cabin, London.

For more information, please contact
Jack the Pelican Presents
487 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211