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Fifth World Problems

Studio 525 is pleased to present ​Fifth World Problems​, an exhibition bringing together the works of artists James Clar and Matthew Schreiber.

The "Fifth World" refers to a fictional inter-dimensional plane of existence that contains bizarre life forms, philosophies, physics and other anomalies. Fifth World Problems, a play on the concept of 'First World Problems' deals with the frustrations of living in alternate dimensions, rather than the actuality of the monotonous present. 'Fifth World Problems,' the term invented on Reddit, one of the most successful forum communities on the internet, is reimagined in the exhibition as cosmology turned reality.

The works presented by James Clar and Matthew Schreiber contemplate the reality altering medium of light and technology systems, questioning whether the experiences and problems of one world or plane of existence is essentially the same as another.

This specific invitation to the two artists stems from their use of various mediums at the intersection of technology, light and space; attempts to question what the immediate state of experience of space is in our distracted oversaturated environments.

The exhibition presents an installation by Matthew Schreiber rarely experienced in New York. ​Guilloche2019​, part of an on going series since 2005, treats laser light as sculpture. Geometric ​Guilloche​ patterns are commonly seen in holographic anti-counterfeiting measures and the ​Spirograph​ toy developed in the late 1960’s.

The effect of the pattern creates an illusion of bending light that viewers walk through.

On view just outside the ​Guilloche​ laser installation is a video work titled, ​Sun to Moon, 2019​. Schreiber documented a walk through the ​Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

James Clar presents a brand new installation titled ​We Met Online (Avatars)​, 2019. The installation blends psychedelic and virtual spaces by placing two live alpacas onto a reactive LED floor running John Horton Conway’s ​Game of Life​ simulation. The phrase “we met online” is an increasingly common statement on the initial interaction for contemporary romantic relationships. Here, the alpacas walk around like physical avatars within a virtual space, their interaction causing evolving patterns of light beneath them.

Alpacas use dates back thousands of years to the pre-Andean, psychedelic culture of the Moche people of Northern Peru. Their culture, which explored hallucinogenic states of consciousness, often depicted alpacas on their pottery and weaving patterns, amongst other fictional creatures.

The ​Game of Life​, also known simply as ​Life​, is a cellular automaton devised by mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. The game has surprised many by showing ways in which patterns can evolve as evidence of emergence and self-organization.

Another of James’ work, ​Nobody’s Home,​ (2016) creates a sliver of light that glows from the gap at the bottom of a door. As the shadows move, viewers perceive the presence of people walking on the other side, however nothing physically exists there, only light and shadow. Another work presented, ​Awake In Your Sleep ​(2016) uses LEDs and filters to visualize the split experience of dreaming of the daytime. The moment in your dream where your mind experiences the daytime while your body lays resting in the night.

James Clar and Matthew Schreiber approach conceptually similar themes in uniquely dissimilar ways. They share the common utilisation of technological mediums such as hologram, film, light, object and ultimately space to decode complex narratives around perception and experiences.

James Clar (b. 1979, Watertown, Wisconsin) Clar studied Film and Animation at New York University and received his Masters from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. His work explores the conceptual and narrative potential of light and technology. Every communication medium enhances certain types of information while limiting and simplifying others. These modulated effects to our perception have become a thematic focus to his works and a way to experiment with narrative forms.

Clar was an artist in residence at Eyebeam Atelier (New York), Fabrica (Italy), FedEx Institute of Technology/Lantana Projects (Memphis) and Mana Contemporary (New Jersey). His work has been included in shows at; The Glucksman Museum (Dublin), Pera Museum (Istanbul), Cam Francis Museum (Barcelona), Chanel Mobile Art exhibition (Tokyo), The New Museum of Contemporary Arts (New York), Parasol Unit (London), The Somerset House (UK), and Museum on Seam (Jerusalem). As well as solo presentations at Jane Lombard Gallery (New York), Carroll/Fletcher (London), Galeria Senda (Barcelona), and Carbon 12 (Dubai).

Matthew Schreiber (b. 1967, Cleveland, OH) Schreiber holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His use of contemporary technology engages a conversation with ideas of the esoteric, superstition and the occult. His practice pits the active image of the past against today’s screen-based image culture of slick and banal immediacy.

Schreiberʼs work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including Light, Color and Geometry, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science; Crossbow at the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; Side Show at Johannes Vogt Gallery, NYC; Guilloche at Fireplace Project in East Hampton, NY; Swiss Hall Basel, Switzerland; Platonic Solids at the NSU Art Museum Ft. Lauderdale; and Ontario, curated by Ambra Medda in the Miami Design District. Group exhibitions include Dark Mofo, MONA, Hobart Tasmania, Day for Night, Houston, Texas; The Jeweled Net: Views on Contemporary Holography at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA; Crystalline Lattice, curated by Yongwoo Lee in Gwangju, South Korea; Miami Noir at Invisible Exports in New York, NY; Shadows, Disappearances, and Illusions at the Perez Art Museum Miami; and Group Show at Galerie Almine Rech in Paris, France.

For more information on the works on display in Fifth World Problems please contact Georgie Richer at Jane Lombard Gallery on georgie@janelombardgallery.com.

Special thanks to Eazel, Great Performances, Jane Lombard Gallery, Shalimar Alpacas, WorldStage & Ziba Foods for their support.

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James Clar

Matthew Schreiber


May 02 - May 05, 2019




Installation view of Fifth World Problems

Studio 525, New York


Installation view of Fifth World Problems

Studio 525, New York


James Clar

Matthew Schreiber