Point of no return

Robert Orchardson
Terminal Velocity (detail)
2004, sapeli wood.

Carl Andre, Stéphane Calais, Thomas Joshua Cooper, A K Dolven, Thomas Nozkowski, Robert Orchardson & Rafaël Rozendaal POINT OF NO RETURN

Venue: Rubicon Gallery, 10 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 Ireland
Opening Reception: 6th June 6-8pm
Dates: 7th June 08 – 16th August 2008
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12.00 - 18.00

Point of No Return, curated by Caroline Hancock and Sherman Sam, is an exhibition at Rubicon Gallery Dublin that explores the crossing of boundaries, physical or geographical, fantastical or emotional, literal or abstract. The show features seven artists of International stature, some exhibiting in Dublin for the first time; Carl Andre, Stéphane Calais, Thomas Joshua Cooper, AK Dolven, Thomas Nozkowski (simultaneously showing at Douglas Hyde Gallery), Robert Orchardson and Rafaël Rozendaal’s.

For the artist, creating a work often involves a journey. For most this is metaphorical, but for some it can also be physical. Capturing the world’s edge, for example, has been Thomas Joshua Cooper’s mission for four decades. The photographs in this exhibition, of the Atlantic Ocean’s expanses of water and rocky coastlines, literally depict, as their title suggests: point of no return.

In painted environments such as palaces or churches, the stairwell is often a place for the illusionistic enactment of the journey. Stéphane Calais’s wall painting at the gallery entrance is a temporal proposition of possibilities, certain in its physical presence, but elusive in intention.

With an acknowledgement of the final sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Robert Orchardson creates a three-dimensional symbol of ‘a rite of passage’ or gateway. The dynamic thrust of Orchardson’s sculpture propels one inexorably forth, as in science fiction towards the unknown, where time is reversible and distances limitless.

The minimal graphics of Rafaël Rozendaal’s website, itwillneverbethesame.com, invite us to ceaselessly strive towards an end point at the touch of a mouse. The road scene develops into a constant advance and an unrelenting mise-en-abyme. It possesses an air of hope, but also of loss, as the plain desire for the future vanquishes both past and present.

Stripes twist and intertwine continuously in AK Dolven’s tilts only (his shirts), conjuring up bittersweet candy canes or barber poles. As if trapped in a closet endlessly obsessing over a loved one’s clothing, there is a hypnotic intimacy in this seemingly abstract and painterly film.

Carl Andre’s type-written word pieces slow down episodes of high tension through the repetition of cut-up text. Suspending action in words, Andre renders dynamic into form and formalizes text into a grid-like ‘objects’. Though a mainstay of Modernism, and thus iconic and singular, the space of the grid can equally be read as continuous. “Logically speaking,” Rosalind Krauss has pointed out, “the grid extends, in all directions, to infinity.”

Such a grid is also evident in the untitled painting by Thomas Nozkowski. Within it, a central vertical transition becomes an event. Nozkowski’s painting takes as its point of departure a moment, experience, or sentiment in his life, which directs the decision behind the first mark on the canvas and the process thereafter.


In 49 BC, Julius Caesar massed his troops north of the Rubicon, a river then separating Cisalpine Gaul from the Roman Republic. At said point of no return, Caesar reputedly declared: “The die is now cast.” He made a key decision to cross this river armed, thus provoking his irreversible march towards power. This crucial point of commitment to a risky course of action is universally familiar, but to none more so than to the Artist, whose practice demands that they daily embrace risk, repetition, failure and new frontiers.

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