September 14 - October 20, 2019

Opening: September 14, 6 – 8 pm
Artists' Gallery Talk: October 6, 4 pm

STACK / CUT is an ambitious exhibition of recent artworks exploring the shape-shifting geometries of shipping (and other) containers by LOT-EK (Ada Tolla & Giuseppe Lignano), the duo of New York-based artists-architects, at Alden Projects, September 14 - October 20, 2019; opening Saturday, September 14, 6 - 8 pm. “STACK / CUT is a project to inventory and to exhaust all the possible configurations to form volume and space out of shipping containers,” LOT-EK declares. “Part discovery, part reflection, this exhibition aims to investigate and record all variations within given parameters, creating an inventory of volumes and spaces.”

This exhibition marks the 25th anniversary of LOT-EK’s creative engagement with the corrugated metal shipping container, the standard industrial form (40 x 8 ft.) used for transporting commerce internationally. (Their first work to use a shipping container dates from 1994, not long after the duo arrived in New York from Naples, Italy.) The installation includes work about, and in the form of, shipping containers in mixed media, including upcycled, laser-cut cardboard boxes; wall painting; sculpture; videos about shipping containers. All focus on a universe of shifting volumes.

LOT-EK’s system in STACK / CUT employs two verbs: to stack and to cut. Layers or “additions” are stacked—for example, as actual and rendered stacks of industrial shipping containers—while actual and rendered “subtractions” / removals are cut from the same. Altogether, works in STACK / CUT are elements of an atlas-like inventory of possibility delimited by a set of given parameters. The geometry of minimalism is cut into or transliterated onto shipping containers—circles, squares, and triangles: alphabets dreaming of potential volumes and spaces.

Building on a technique first deployed in their 2016 exhibition at Alden Projects, twelve works consist of upcycled, flattened shipping boxes (some containing “Amazon.com” markings) re-purposed by LOT-EK as flattened surfaces incised by the artists with laser cut lines, forming surface removals. A large wall painting in black and yellow paint in the middle of the gallery spills over onto the floor, pointing towards an empire of the uncontainable. Two videos, Stack (2019) (30 min.) and Cut (2019) (62 min.) conjure up inventories of altered containers, while a STACK / CUT (2019) is an ambitious hand-made, codex comprising printed and cut sections; it collects together in miniature an inventory of volumes and space in positive and negative fields. This unique book-as-artwork calls to mind Marcel Broodthaers' diminutive book, Atlas (1975).

The installation, arranged by LOT-EK, includes a painted yellow line across the floor, bifurcating the gallery into STACK and CUT sides. The exhibition can be previewed in a hanging sculpture in two parts; SPLIT STACK (2019) located in the gallery’s two separate street facing windows. Like Duchamp’s boîte-en-valise (or box in a suitcase), each laser cut and painted cardboard box contains Alden Projects gallery in miniature, including small-scale renderings of LOT-EK works hanging inside. The artists also transliterate the gallery-as-container, conjuring up the railroad car-like shape of the Alden Projects gallery space as ghosted shipping containers en abyme.

© Todd Alden 2019

This is LOT-EK's second exhibition at Alden Projects.

A variation of the exhibition, STACK / CUT, opens on November 5, 2019 at the Design Building Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. LOT-EK's prior solo exhibitions include the Whitney Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Art Museum, University of Santa Barbara; California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland; Deitch Projects, New York. LOT-EK’s work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC. LOT-EK created Alden Projects’ street-facing sign on Orchard Street in 2015.