David Zwirner is pleased to present the group exhibition System and Vision, organized in collaboration with Delmes & Zander in Berlin and Cologne. It includes artists whose unique ideas developed outside the circuit of art world institutions, often with limited interaction with other peers. Each offers a highly individualistic, authentic, and imaginative practice that roughly falls into one of four identifiable areas commonly absent from mainstream art-historical narratives: pseudo-science, science fiction, eroticism, and the occult.
Little, if anything, is known about some of the artists, whose work was uncovered posthumously or otherwise discovered, stowed away in inconspicuous locations. William Crawford's name is only encountered as a signature accompanying a handful of erotic drawings found along with hundreds more unsigned in an abandoned house in Oakland, California. Some of these were drawn on the back of prison rosters dating from the 1990s, suggesting that the artist may have been an inmate at some point. A recurring male figure may constitute self-portraiture, but the passionate subject matter with varying degrees of roughness and intimacy is likely the realm of private fantasy at a time when online pornography was not widely available. The action is often depicted from unusual angles and offset by streamlined, linear backdrops that offer a hint of realism to the wistful yearnings.
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