A couple of months ago I visited a well known Toronto gallery (well known in Toronto), which had just moved to a new space. As it happened, the gallerist was alone when I arrived, and the whole encounter gave me new thoughts about anxiety. I’d be curious to know how the work sold, or if it did, because Gedi Sibony’s piece of plastic with a few bits of tape attached is nothing if not anxiety ridden. The gallerist was looking a little unsure, but who knows the reason. The paradox is that the art world isolation bubble
actually muffles the anxiety of work that tries to advance by doing less—turning a risky, on the edge strategy into a matter of mere tasteful knowingness, or maybe knowing tastefulness. When Sibony casually brushes white paint on a piece of cardboard he evokes Ryman by making the painted patch roughly echo the rectangle, and he evokes Gabriel Orozco by showing something that looks like it was found in a vacant lot—but all that smartness is just a cosy blanket for an exposed sensibility. What could a collector who bought that possibly be aspiring to? If they didn’t feel like a fool for buying it, and didn’t want to throw it away afterwards, they wouldn’t really know what it was.