The Company, a solo exhibition of work by Sam Clague, co-opts the familiar yet inaccessible bureaucratic language and material culture of centralised capitalist power, presenting an indifferent, opaque, and necessarily fragmented historicism. Drawing on tools and practices of commodification, including the ‘incorporated entity’ or ‘corporation’, a business structure that is a separate legal entity from its constituent members, Clague re-explores the age of exploration and its legacy of exploitation and mass accumulation of knowledge, technology, capital, and labour.
Hātarei 29 Oketopa -
Hātarei 3 Tīhema
Saturday 29 October -
Saturday 3 December
1. Upon Mapping, all reference to the Territory (here defined as the ‘natural and undivided’ state of the Earth) shall be replaced by reference to the Map (and its Supporting Documents). To refer directly to the Territory directly will be taken as Hostile to the Interests of the Company.
2. While the Map is not (semantically) the Territory, it is this Committee’s joint opinion that the Map is the Necessary and Manifest successor of the Territory. To apply a Darwinian reading, the Map fulfils the demands of the Law of Natural Selection, displacing Territory from its own nominal niche within the Real. It’s a Jungle out there, Kid.
3. The Map exhibits correct alignment with the Aspirations and Delineations necessitated by the maintenance of the ideological Capitalist Nation State and its Affiliates. Conversely, the Territory displays an unsavoury Hubris, being naturally disinclined to assimilate boundary lines into its True Nature. Upon reviewing these Facts, all concerned specialist Committees and Contractors are in agreement; the Map has outgrown the need for Territory as formerly conceptualised. In the same way that the idea of a Gold Standard is superfluous to the correct understanding and circulation of Capital, so the idea of a Territory existing independently of its Mapped counterpart has outlived its utility.
4. Internal Documents from the Department of Prodigious Affairs have even gone so far as to suggest that the Map has absorbed the Territory, irreversibly and fundamentally altering the basic structures of each by creating a hybrid entity, one that renders all discussion of the Territory counterproductive. Furthermore, DoPA has submitted for review a contraction of the terms (Merritory/Tap) in an effort to abolish the concept of a self contained Territory, and ease the Subjective Transition.
5. The Department of Inter Subjective Transitions has fully approved the retirement of all language relating to potentially disruptive conceptions of the Real. It is a priority of the DoISA to manage all language and concepts that do not support the well being and Sustained Growth of the Company, and therefore Civilisation. With all relevant Departments aligned in their conclusions and recommendations, we are content that the matter be passed on to the Final Advisory Review Committee.
6. Everything is Real, You will need permission for that.
Clague is a New Zealand born, Christchurch Ōtautahi based artist. His practice spans the mediums of painting, sculpture, installation, video, and sound; conjuring varied and seemingly unconnected cultural and artistic references into a scatterbrained yet compulsively poetic matrix of signs and symbols.
In an essay for Art+Australia Online, Abbra Kotlarczyk writes:
"Clague’s works are elisions in the true sense of the word: as aporia, an irresolvable internal contradiction that gets to the heart of what it means to both reject and join forces with our turbid desires. Perhaps it’s something like the poet Anne Waldman describes when she takes on the dark spirit of Richard Nixon during a fire puja ceremony: in order to generate more compassion for the world we have to let in the negative energies as well as the positive."