The Search
September 9 – October 15, 2011
Gallery One

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce The Search, a new work by Jason Lazarus in Gallery One.

Chicago, IL, September 9, 2011- ANDREW RAFACZ begins the fall 2011 season with The Search, a new site specific, viewer-interactive installation by Jason Lazarus. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. It continues through Saturday, October 15, 2011.

Over the last several years, Lazarus, who began his career as a photographer, has concentrated more and more on conceptual projects that engage a certain community or culture, while still retaining connections to the practice and history of photography. Whether by collecting and presenting other’s personal photographs, or by utilizing the results of a project and reinvesting them into his output, the photograph is still central to his concerns. With his new installation, the conceptual installation stands alone and relates to photography through the artist’s enduring philosophical concerns.

The artist has always been interested in personal intimacies within the construct of the larger world, and particularly how a photograph can open up a secret space without reducing it. With his new installation The Search, he has moved this inclination into a performative space. The large, single structure in the gallery, a series of uniform steps that are reminiscent of a pyramid of bleachers or a ziggurat, will internally house conversations between pairs of interlocutors, sourced from Chicago’s vast and diversified community of writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and politicians. The artist will pair them up based on his own understanding of their respective interests and vocations. Their dialogue, whatever they choose to talk about, will not be recorded, except for their respective signatures as a confirmation of their attendance.

Participants are given limited instructions and are left unconstrained save for a time limit. The length of their conversation, its substance and its terms are all up to them. They leave with the personal memory of the conversation. We, as spectators of the piece and the proceedings contained within, leave with the knowledge that it has taken place, only to speculate on what might have been. Recording the very real trace of a charged moment, Lazarus has once again turned the image of the photograph to the wall, a transcendent gesture central to his previous wall installations, keeping it a secret.

JASON LAZARUS (American, b. 1975) lives and works in Chicago. He received his M.F.A. in photography from Columbia College in 2003. Exhibitions include On the Scene: Jason Lazarus, Wolfgang Ploger, Zoe Strauss, at the Art Institute of Chicago; Black Is, Black Ain’t, Renaissance Society, Chicago. His video The top of the tree gazed upon by Anne Frank while in hiding (Amsterdam, 2008), has been exhibited at the Spertus Museum, Chicago and the Des Moines Art Center as part of their Single-channel series, curated by Gilbert Vicario. He has shown widely at art fairs including FIAC, VOLTA New York, and VOLTA Basel. He had a retrospective solo exhibition, Your Time is Gonna Come, at Illinois State University, in Spring 2011. A catalogue, with an essay by Michelle Grabner, is forthcoming this fall. Lazarus has lectured widely, and will be speaking at the International Center for Photography, New York, in October 2011. His installation Sarasota Photomat was included in Let Your Light In at Country Club, Los Angeles, in August. Upcoming solo exhibitions include the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA in September 2011 and the Nerman Museum, Overland Park, KS in 2012.