The following text was hung at The Artist Archives of the Western Reserve during the show Word in 2017.
Title of the Artwork: Entrance
By Jon Keppel
“Poïesis (Ancient Greek: ποίησις) is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιέω, which means ‘to make’. This word, the root of our modern 'poetry', was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world. Neither technical production nor creation in the romantic sense, poïetic work reconciles thought with matter and time, and person with the world.”
This collection of words printed here for your consideration is to help document, make known and facilitate a poem being created by an indeterminate number of attendees for the show Word. The piece has been conceived by artist Jon Keppel and works like this: every time a word is uttered aloud on the premises of The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve during official gallery hours over the course of the show Word, it becomes a part of an ongoing poem in the spirit of poiesis as mentioned above. This poem will be called Entrance. Similar to the world itself, no one person has access to the entire poem. Anyone can participate in breathing life into the poem given a particular spatial temporal circumstance. With life that place is Earth (for now). With this artwork it is (for now) the premises of The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve during gallery hours over the course of the entire run of the show Word.
The piece will continue to be produced and performed simultaneously for the duration of the show. The duration of this poem therefore is the duration of the exhibit (in other words, its collective on-view hours). To hear it is to make it live. Any utterance, including casual conversation or commentary counts. Also, sometimes we contribute, perhaps to a person or people’s lives (or just the world at large) without consciously doing so (i.e. without knowing about it). This will certainly happen over the course of the making of Entrance, however as with life, every one will be participating just by being present. The line between artist, art and viewer all becomes intertwined as visitors become engaged in all three and more just by making the journey to the site for the exhibit.
There is no way to document this piece in its entirety but that’s the point. Help bring it to life though and give it your own spin perhaps with Snapchat, Facebook Live or YouTube. It is the artist’s belief that words hint at a reality that is bigger than ourselves and yet it takes many selves to sustain it.
Title of the Artwork: Visual Silence
Medium: Conceptual (no physical component other than label with title and date)
Dimensions: 24 inches by 30 inches of blank wall (in addition to the standardized space left between other artworks included)
The idea for this piece is to intentionally leave a blank spot on the wall of the gallery space that is otherwise filled with two dimensional and three dimensional work such as paintings and sculptures. The cessation of visual stimuli is the work itself. The work is essentially non-dimensional but I want it to “fit” with other work that it is “shown” with for viewing. So I am proposing that a 24 inch by 30 inch space be left on the wall of the gallery (this would be in addition to any standardized space left between pieces hanging on the wall, so essentially it would be incorporated into the show’s display as if a painting with the dimensions of 24 inches by 30 inches was going to be displayed but was then removed). A label card with the name and date of the piece will be placed next to the blank space on the wall just as with the rest of the label cards for the show. Again, the blank space is the work.
The title to this piece, as many times happens, is a clue to the nature of the piece. It is what it says it is, visual silence. By taking out a physical art object such as a painting or a sculpture it is a conscious and intentional pause of the visual field. It could be likened to a rest in musical terms, moments of pause made when speaking or the blanks of a page between words and sentences on paper. These are just some of the gestures that the DNA of this concept piece shares. The true meaning of the piece is intentionally left ambiguous so that it may remain open to interpretation. Sometimes not saying something is a way of saying something. And at the same time rests in music function with a certain sense of presence and accentuate surrounding phenomena.
Please help me bring this work to life. And just to be clear this statement/description is for jurying purposes only. Only a standardized label along with a blank spot on the wall would be present at the show.
Jon Keppel, artist
Title of the Artwork: Kneeling (The creation of a sport/game as an artistic statement.)
Date: Circa 2015
Kneeling is a gentlemen’s sport to be played by two willing participants. The objective is to have the other person kneel before you without making body-to-body contact above the waist. The genitals, buttocks and backs of the legs are off limits. The target areas include the thighs and the shinbones. If a player hits another player in any area other than a target area the player that delivered the strike is immediately disqualified.
The game is to be played on level ground. The game begins by having two men face each other in a casual manner within striking distance from one another (approximately a half arm’s length). Blows are to be delivered by leg only. Strikes may be delivered by knee, shin or foot. No blows are to be delivered to an opponent’s knee in that doing so endangers the means of achieving the objective of the game (i.e. one cannot kneel if one’s knee has been compromised). Striking an opponent’s knee and or knees immediately disqualifies the player who delivered the strike.
The heavier of the two men delivers the first blow. The game is played in silence. Once an invitation to play has been accepted the men take their positions. From this point on neither man is to talk.
Kneeling is defined as knee to ground contact. One knee (a.k.a. “taking a knee”) is considered a technical defeat. Two knees placed simultaneously to the ground by the same individual is considered a complete defeat. If both players find that either one or both of their knees hits the ground at the same time as the other, (e.g. if both players tumble to the ground as the result of a strike) the players return to the standing position. Play continues from there, meaning the person who previously delivered a blow does not get to redo his turn. A player is not required to deliver a strike in order to play the game.
Each man takes his turn one after the other. The game is immediately finished as soon as one opponent kneels.
Note: Players play at their own risk and are personally responsible for any bodily harm that comes from playing the game.
Creator of game: Jon Keppel
Title of the Artwork: Statement-Map-Legend-Image
Artist, Jon Keppel
This statement is designed to draw attention to the status, role and function of marks and mark-making. Specifically, it intends to amplify and examine the arbitrary nature of the relationship between the signifier (or mark, in this case the characters of the English language) and the signified (the mark’s meaning or content, what the mark is trying to say). It also wishes to promote the idea that a visual mark of any sort can take on multiple (potentially infinite) assigned meanings, depending on its maker’s purpose and intent. As a means of facilitating this examination, the notion of a map is offered up as a way to organize or “make sense” of the marks currently being scrutinized (what exists on the surface of this sheet of paper or screen you are reading). Furthermore, this statement strives indirectly to show that a mark (or set of marks), of any constitution, is a kind of micro-map in that its very presence visually orients its viewer and thus initiates, or at least prompts, navigation. More precisely though, and closer to the matter at hand, this statement contends that a letter of the English language can be employed in the same way as a dab of black paint, relying on the assumption that before a letter is a letter-proper, it is a visual form, a naked mark without conceptual substance. With this thought in mind, and in keeping with the analogy of a map as an instrumental filter through which to peer at these naked forms, I would now like to draw your attention to the role of a legend in traditional cartographic endeavors. The legend, or key as it is sometimes referred, is a sort of reference point that the user of the map consults in order to decode and become familiar with the specialized and particular meanings of the marks that present themselves on the map’s two-dimensional surface. In regards to the collection of words currently being presented, I would like to draw a comparison between this notion of a cartographic legend and the logic behind the statement that is being offered here in the form of the English language. To be more direct, the meanings of the words you have been reading are acting as a domain of reference by which you are coming to truly understand their current function, namely the employment of their forms strictly as forms and nothing else. In this sense, the legend has been embedded into the very contents of the map itself. Also, aesthetic decisions dealing with composition that are normally pondered in the mind of the artist, as he or she lets their instrumenting of choice (let’s say a brush) sway gently and thoughtfully above an intended surface (let’s say a canvas) while carefully deciding where next to make a mark, have been replaced by the grammar, punctuation, text-type, size, etc, (and in a very subtle way the content) of the sentences themselves. This statement-map-legend-image then is totally self-referential, both conceptually and visually. The marks paradoxically re-qualify themselves in that their orthodox meaning has been used to discard and go beyond its self. If the legend has served it purpose well and been read correctly, one should now be able to view the marks on this page in strictly visual terms, with all previously connoted meaning and relation made irrelevant. One should be in a position to behold the marks on this paper purely as a singular expressive image whose created vision could not have been displayed in any other way.
Title of the Artwork: All Sharks on the Planet Earth
Artist, Jon Keppel
Conducing is a practice I have taken up, an artistic process, by which I as artist draw attention, both that of my own and others, towards lived phenomena through various means of deployment including mental images, the written word and more. I use the generative power of conversation and imagination to connect in vitally responsive ways to actual swaths of reality including objects, living beings and places. The work operates from a paradoxical realm and dynamic where lived reality is appreciated as having simultaneously the very visceral nature of tangible materiality while also transpiring in conjunction with the spontaneous and ephemeral nature of ideas that facilitate the continuation of a living spirit whereby all sentience and remainders are revealed.
How does this actually work? Well it works like this. I say with words something like “all sharks on the planet Earth” and you then have a mental impression in the form of words or images spontaneously arrive, form, get revealed in your mind. The work is simultaneously the actual collective phenomenon of all sharks on the planet Earth and also the rather ambiguous mental impression, feeling or otherwise related response that is in a way organically conjured in your mind. When I say mind I do not simply mean your brain or the metaphysical place in which you think and have thoughts but rather the entire inner stage of your narrative as it reflects and coalesces with the nature of lived reality as phenomena that is at once external and internal in nature.
When I say something like “all sharks on the planet Earth” your mind brings forth a response whether a thought, impression, feeling, kinesthetic activation or something else altogether. I call this conducing because I as artist conduce (i.e. to help bring about) such swaths of lived reality as all sharks on the planet Earth by summoning forth a very real tangible material fact but one which is not accessible through the senses or the act of witnessing because of the nature of material reality, the locative functioning of sentience and the spontaneous quality of ephemera, sentient or otherwise. Any time you see film or video of a shark on the television or online that is documentation of this piece. Documentation also includes drawings and paintings of sharks, animated cartoons of sharks and conversations about sharks. Also and though perhaps ironically not always as imperative is the in the flesh encounter of a shark in the wild for instance or at an aquarium for example. The encounter with the artwork itself happens through conducing. Plainly though reverently stated, this includes fatal encounters.
I believe that this piece is a response to artist Damien Hirst’s piece “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.” This is a well known piece of the artist that features a deceased shark in a large see-through container filled with formaldehyde. This piece of mine will of course change as new sharks die, are killed, get born and so on. And in fact my piece includes the shark that makes up “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” (as long as that piece remains on Earth and not, as it theoretically could be shipped into space or deep space etc most likely by Hirst responding to my piece. One can simply imagine a shark floating in space or deep space and this somewhat contradicts the piece in that a shark is not on the planet Earth is conjured and yet the imagination that generates the conduction is itself on the planet Earth).
This manner of artwork is not exhibited but rather shared and distributed by means of mental images, words and experience in the world. It is neither constructive nor destructive but rather deals with what we ourselves are already involved with sentient, corporeal beings. It is made with a spirit of questioning the entire construct of the exhibition in the history and extant reportage of art and the art world and by extension all exhibitions. Work is the appreciation of the soul not the sensing of datum. The whole mirrors the parts, value being universal.
The following is from a small series I created called Date/Place/Time. They consist of swaths of reality that are intentionally summoned by bringing attention to a particular event and/or imagined nexus through these three qualifications.
Date / Time /
These works deal with the remembrance, experience and forecasting of various moments, times, spaces and phenomena. Each presents the documentation of a date, time and place highlighting the swath of reality that emerges as an artwork. It is essentially making a readymade of various chunks of space and time and the activity that is present there. Sometimes there will be documentation in the form of photos and videos. Sometimes written descriptions of the environment and what occurs there will be presented. The central idea is to take chunks of reality as defined by date, time and place to be presented to the mind as a kind of readymade artwork which is ripe for aesthetic responses and fertile with transformative experiential and contemplative powers.
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork: June 16, 2017 / 7pm - 9pm / 78th Street Studios (1300 West 78th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44102)
mediums: people, magnets, grilled cheese, electrical sockets, tables, walls, art, a fan, an empty pedestal, a gallery, air blowing, a urinal, the word hazing, Liz Maugans, Liz Maugans' work, Hedge Gallery, a window, surrounding houses, a car, a street, natural light, manufactured light, a living dog that reminds me of Joseph Beuys’ coyote, an issue of CAN Journal
actions: turning pages in a binder, conversing, making eye contact, typing on my phone, listening to the word hazing, breathing, meeting Justin Brennan
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork: Friday, May 19th, 2017, the planet Saturn
Friday May 19th (2017)
Everything that happens on the planet Saturn during this day.
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork:
Times Square, New York City, May 18th 2017
(I started my stopwatch on my phone about 10 minutes ago to specifically set a side time for art making. My goal was to confer everything that happened at Times Square in New York City between 11:40 am and an ending time which ended up being 11:42 am, as art. Immediately upon starting the timing, someone rang the door bell. I went to get the door. I am not sure what happened in Times Square during those two minutes as I was not there nor did I receive any news about happenings there however I had an intention to confer the status of art upon all that happened there at that particular time.)
just think about EVERYTHING that was happening simultaneously between 11:40 am and 11:42 am in this American city—-it boggles the imagination
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork: Untitled 56
ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, RIGHT NOW
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork: A New York Minute
New York City
May 18th, 2017
From the series Date/Place/Time
Title of the Artwork: Unicorn