Monday, November 12, 2007

A / Part :: Constructions by Jeremy Mayer

Jeremy Mayer constructs figurative forms—what he calls “reassemblies”—using defunct typewriters. A testament to his steadfast attention to detail, these sculptures involve an ongoing process of deconstruction and reconstruction. Mayer dissects the typewriters he collects, inventorying their parts and studying them in relation to human anatomy; to him, a “Q” key mimics a particular nerve or bone. Like the typewriters Mayer takes apart, the human bodies he constructs represent an elaborate interplay between part and whole.

Mayer is acutely aware of the multiple layers of meaning that exist in his works. He steadfastly resists the association of his sculptures with common robots, and instead looks to classical art, anatomy, and typewriter history for inspiration. For example, though Nude III (Olympia)—on view to the left—takes its name from a literal reference to a prominent typewriter manufacturer, its title is also a clever nod to Éduoard Manet’s seminal painting of the same name.

Mayer’s sculptures reflect the passage of time and our tendency to relate emotion with objects. As symbols of a bygone era, typewriters evoke a sense of nostalgia. While Mayer dismantles typewriters, he maintains their original mechanical nature, never welding or soldering any components of his sculptures. Mayer’s works, then, lament the loss of visible technological processes—which in today’s world have largely shifted from mechanical to digital.