In his second solo exhibition at Shore Gallery, Dan Vogt continues to explore the power of the written word. In Non-fiction Sculpture he challenges the sanctity of the book, and its symbolic power as a testament to truth and fact. Rather than calling into question the legitimacy of linear history, Vogt merely seeks to “cinematically” subvert its authority by taking on the role of director and treating progressive history as fiction.
There’s this performative element in the bookshelf that has always made me uncomfortable. In a library the shelf serves to hold the wide-ranging assortment of books that are available, while at home the selection is curated- the shelf taking the role of a display. Whether or not what’s on display is ornamental or signaling a school of thought, there is some sense of authority present here suggesting that what is on display is a good selection. I especially enjoy it when I encounter large volumes, typical encyclopedias or some topics’ total-history in twenty volumes, whose authority on the matter I find a bit dubious- the sheer number of edits and editions shows that these facts are not written in stone. Cinema does an excellent job at satirizing these canons, consistently getting people getting up in arms about the inaccurate portrayal of a Roman Society or a certain Scottish peasant-warlord, as if we would know what the correct way was, what “really” happened, or more importantly if it’s even important. It’s all interpretation at the end of the day and isn’t that what the director does? The process of editing is truly unique to cinema and is perhaps why it is such a fitting medium when portraying anything historical because both have this ability to affect time: condensing 4.000 years into 4.000 pages; years into hours. When reading through these volumes I have the feeling that I’m reading through a script, and with a few more lines of dialogue here and there, it would be ready to film.
— Dan Vogt