In his 2nd solo presentation at Samsøñ, Pavlisko orchestrates a masterful mash-up of works that focus on motion and materiality with an underpinning of fame and sexuality. Presenting an unprecedented set of the artist’s life long collection of 1970s vintage basketball posters appropriated with re-contextualized rare, original photographs from the Dr. Harold Edgerton estate, Pavlisko produces a mix or pop-culture imagery and scientific photography. Along side these works, the artist will exhibit sculptural works he produced in collaboration with musical instrument scholars, luthiers and metal smiths. Pavlisko continues to practice a pragmatic process, expanding it, in dialogue with art history while including voices of craftsmen and industry professionals who don't often interact with the contemporary art world. The works combine an illicit visual experience of craft and climax, celebrating moments of anticipation and trajectory.
Capitalizing on the rare opportunity to work with the highly sought after photographs from Edgerton’s estate, Pavlisko has produced a set of unique readymade photo-sculptures where we find Edgerton’s iconic photographs conspicuously mounted atop an array of power-play images from basketball’s early pop-culture history. For example, a classic poster of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar swooping in for a slam-dunk provides an action-packed backdrop—both visual and conceptual—for one of Edgerton's quintessential shots of a drop of water. In another assemblage, a contemplative Oscar Robertson stares nervously at a buzzer-beating three-pointer, while the paired Edgerton image presses forward with a tender shot of bird enthusiast, Mae Webster, gaily glancing at three swarming hummingbirds that are frozen stiff by Edgerton's revolutionary strobe photography. As images, the vintage basketball poster’s dramatic freeze-framing juxtaposed with some of Edgerton's best captured experiments with time and the semi-visible world are themselves stunning and immediately harmonious. As sculptures, these literally fused frameworks mend popular culture and physics, as many of the technologies that Edgerton developed undoubtedly influenced the cameras that would be used in and on the courts of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA) to capture the intensity of the game. Pavlisko has intentionally preserved and re-displayed the extracted areas from the basketball posters where the Edgerton images have been overlaid. These punch-outs of sorts—these hanging chads, if you will—are circuitously asserted throughout other areas of the exhibition, providing a puzzling compendium, fragmented chapters of the overall story—like the pages of a book strew asunder by an unforgiving gust.
One need consider the dual action of sports drama blended with scientific alchemy in order to build elaborate narratives surrounding competition, sexual prowess, indictments of masculine bravado, or any number of allusions toward the passing of time and the fading of clarity. At the apex of their momentum, objects are caught in their trajectories. The athletes’ clenched bodies along with bullets, basketballs and sensuous droplets of water are all frozen in time. Though their explosive kinetic force is silenced by the medium; the images, caught at the moment of release, imply a highly audible experience. Like much of Pavlisko's work, this content confronts us from a variety of angles—at times with levity and sharp wit, and at other times with absolute stoicism and sobriety. Often, the murky territory in limbo is the only real static landing pad for these mixed reactions. A bombastic front underpinned with quiet subtle nuance is a paradigm invariably present.
Accompanying these wall works, are sculptural assemblages that rely on the manipulation of materiality and perception to alter the conception of permanence. Violins Pavlisko produced under the guidance of violin scholars and luthiers, begin to lose their classical, rigid form and drape over the globes of basketballs. Their melting arches over the symbolic orbs, subverting expectations of physics and, relating to the Edgerton photographs, aid in defying anticipations of time and gravity. The installation of still basketballs and silent violins compliment the drama captured in the in fleeting moments captured in the photo-sculptures that snare kinetic force and distil it into a montage of building anticipation. Ray-Ban® Wayfarer sunglasses and Orange Crush bottles have also been manipulated by the artist to create somewhat erotic sculptures that add to the heightened sexuality of the game of basketball during the 70’s (this aspect of the game is attested by the myth of Wilt Chamberlain’s sexual bravado and a poster included in the show depicting a sweaty woman whose cropped top reads “basketball players have bigger balls”). Bronze casted and gold-plated, the lavish “sunnies” mimic the flaccid forms of the violins, taken to the tip of the Orange Crush 2 liter soda bottles, anthropomorphized to seem limp and exhausted from climax. The reflective spectacles cling to the soda pop emitting a synthetic orange hue. The artist notes the importance of the pressurized carbonated nectar alludes to the captured force of Edgerton’s experimentation visualizing kinetics; its want to expel, with the vigor of male and female ejaculate.