Liam Gillick The State Itself Becomes a Super Whatnot 2008

  • Not on view

Gillick uses art institutions as forums in which political and social models—including the economic relations of production and consumption—can be reimagined and tested. This piece is one of a series of artworks, performances, and writings that Gillick has been developing since 2004, all of which relate to a continually reworked and postponed fictional text. In the potential book, provisionally titled Construcción de Uno (Construction of One), workers return to their defunct factory and explore alternative production methods.

The enigmatic phrase "the state itself becomes a super whatnot" describes a theme in the artist’s ongoing narrative. It is one of a pair of statements that are inversions of each other; this piece's complement reads, "the whatnot itself becomes a super state." Situated between architecture, design, painting, and sculpture, the text is spelled out directly on the wall in an altered version of Helvetica, a ubiquitous modern typeface prized for its clarity. Gillick's statement, however, is both absurd and confusing, reflecting the artist's interest in the split between utopian idealism and political reality.

Gallery label from Contemporary Art from the Collection, June 30, 2010–September 12, 2011 .
Vinyl on wall
Dimensions variable
Scott Burton Fund
Object number
© 2020 Liam Gillick
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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