is a contemporary art gallery/curatorial umbrella founded in 2022, with an office space (Annex/Cointelpro) in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood, and a vitrine (Hole) in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. The gallery's program focuses around allowing artists opportunities to present ambitious and challenging work in a site-responsive and collaborative manner, alongside exhibition-specific ephemera.

Directed by Milo Christie and Sam Dybeck.
Pious Work of Salvage
Jay Payton, Zola Rollins, Trystan Williams

October 13th, 2022 - November 6th, 2022

Jay Payton (b. 1992. Atlanta. GA) received his MFA from California College of the Arts and currently Jives and works in Brooklyn. NY. Recent solo presentations of his work include April April. New York (2021) Gem en Regalia, New York (2021): Delaplane Gallery, San Francisco (2021): R0rvig Contemporary. Denmark ( 2020 ): Et. Al. San Francisco ( 2019 ): and Mammal Gallery. Atlanta (2018).

Zola Rollins in a writer. friend. student and interdisciplinary sculpture artist living and working in Chicago. Their studio practice springs from an affinity for objects that were designed to imitate natural features (i.e. speakers disguised as rocks or cell towers as trees) and the manufactured dichotomy between city and nature. They are invested in a collective investigation of the ways our perception intercepts with our selfhood and how we read objects in the background.

Trystan Williams is a London based artist. His work represents a personal and subjective weaving journey between material and digital spaces, using the material found to create work which integrates the physical and the digital. It involves the ritualistic gathering of accumulated material both from the internet, and the “real” world. The digital elements are selected fragments of text, and the physical materials are found objects on which the text is laser engraved in order to create a hybrid artefact. The fusing of these transient pieces of human expression with the man made or natural detritus that accumulates in the liminal spaces of a city being a conscious effort to synthesise form, content and context. 

Press Release

‘Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely an ironic mimetism -- victimless collecting, as it were... in a world that is well on its way to becoming one vast quarry, the collector becomes someone engaged in a pious work of salvage. The course of modern history having already sapped the traditions and shattered the living wholes in which precious objects once found their place, the collector may now in good conscience go about excavating the choicer, more emblematic fragments.’

Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977, pp. 75 ‐ 76

The gallery is now a dig site that reveals an ancient Roman mosaic. 

A similar thing happened in February during excavation in Southwark, London - a dining room, resplendent with Solomon’s knots, supposedly part of a mansio, a waystation.

Waystation - maybe that’s a better word to ascribe to this space - a crossing point of material record, information, and imagined futures. 

We might point toward the etymology of the internet, itself a net, fishing for something.

This crossing point is only available through accumulation - both in its big reveal under the bucket of a digger and in its reformation and presentation as objects in space for this show.

All artists mentioned above participate in this cycle of collection, storage, and reproduction.

The Susan Sontag quote that provides the title to this exhibition comes after a retold Arendt anecdote - that the one thing you could be sure of Walter Benjamin was his “little black notebooks with black covers which he always carried with him and which he tirelessly entered in the form of quotations what daily living and reading netted him in the way of ‘pearls’ and ‘coral.’ On occasion he read from them aloud, showed them around like items from a choice and precious collection.” (Arendt)

This gallery also participates in this cycle of collection, storage, and reproduction.

If this space is being constructed, or in a way, excavated, what roles are taken on by the artists and curators?

Are we the apprentices, doing the good work, caked in dust and digging deep? 

Are we the foremen, shouting, trying at control? 

I think we are the thieves that break in at night and make things new with what we find.