(47) Locations partially exempt from this "process of banalization" are those where the frenzy of consumption has exhausted itself temporarily, leaving economic wasteland behind. Until these sites are refashioned for consumption, they assume a near invisible status (except to the tax collector and security patrol). Not only are such places overlooked, but they acquire an aspect of inviolability. Trespassing is prohibited, and one assumes that those who do trespass are exempt from normal moral codes. Lone men wandering these sites are liable to unpredictable behavior.
(48) When I cross the fence into these zones, I enter into the presence of the Other. Every perception takes on new ambiguity; normal rules no longer apply. The clanging of sheet metal in the wind could be some sort of sign. There are endless unknowns here, accompanied by a wanton freedom. The occasional human coprolite far from privacy testifies to a certain sense of abandon.
(155) At the far end of the Sayreville lot my eyes burn from the rising fumes. Sulfur is the identifiable element, but as this is a Superfund site, sulfur is the least of my worries. Moving with my camera through the heat, I reflect that while the visuals of this site are domesticable, the stench is not. Yet months later, drawn back to the site, I experience a tense reassurance. The smell this time is familiar; standing on the baked yellow earth I feel that this zone is now mine alone.
- Michael Ashkin from "Notes Toward Desolation"
Michael Ashkin's exhibition will consist of two parts. The main exhibition space will contain photographic grids of marginalized landscapes, including "Untitled (New Jersey Meadowlands Project)" commissioned by Documenta 11. The foyer will display a collection of written fragments gathered under the title "Notes Toward Desolation," to be published in Untitled (Experience of Place), edited by Gregor Neuerer, Alberta Press, London with Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, Cologne, 2003.
This will be Michael Ashkin's third solo show with Andrea Rosen Gallery. Since his last show, his work has been exhibited at the Renaissance Society, The Arnolfini, Documenta 11, The Aldrich Museum, MCA San Diego, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, ICA Boston, Museum der Bildenden Kunst, Leipzig, and Centro Cultural de Belem.