The
Transported
Man

apr. 29 –
Oct. 22,
2017

Piero Manzoni, Base magica – Scultura vivente, 1961. Courtesy Fondazione Piero Manzoni, Milano.

David Allen, For the Dogs. Satie‘s "Véritables Préludes Flasques (pour un chien)," 1912, rendered at tone frequencies above 18KHz, 2002. Courtesy of the artist. Photo courtesy of DMF – Daniel Malhão/Rosário Sousa.

Daniel Firman, Würsa à 18 000 km de la terre, 2006–08. Courtesy of the Collection Vranken – Pommery Monopole of Reims. Photo courtesy of André Morin.

Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Study for Horizon, 1975. Courtesy of the artist and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik.

Jonathan Monk, Second Hand Daily Exchange, 2006. Copyright Jonathan Monk, courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

Werner Reiterer, Beginnings of Space Travel, 2002. Courtesy of the artist and Hervé Loevenbruck Collection, Paris.

Ugo Rondinone, Clockwork for Oracles, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

Ian Wilson, There was a discussion in Dusseldorf in 1970, 1970. Courtesy of the artist and Jan Mot, Brussels/Mexico City.

Gianni Motti, Mani Pulite, 2005. Private Collection, Courtesy of Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Männedorf-Zurich, Switzerland.

Luca Francesconi, Monte Turchino, 682m, Ligurie, 2005. Courtesy of the Valais Art Museum, Sion, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Michel Martinez.

Hannah Rickards, Thunder, 2005. Courtesy of the artist.

Anna Maria Maiolino, Ad Hoc, 1982. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo courtesy of Regina Vater.

Arcangelo Sassolino, Piccole Guerre (Little Wars), 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano.

Fernando Ortega, Untitled (Fly Electrocutor), 2003. Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City.

Jason Dodge. Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo courtesy of Sandra Pointet.

Melvin Moti, No Show, 2004. Courtesy of the artist.

Paul Thek, L-Column (from series Technological Reliquaries), 1965–66. Courtesy of Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (The Netherlands).

Robert Barry, Electromagnetic Energy Field, 1968. Courtesy of Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, TB Walker Acquisition Fund, 2008.

Robin Meier and André Gwerder, Synchronicity, 2015. Courtesy of the artists. Photo courtesy of Nikolai Zheludovich.

Wolf Vostell, Betonbuch (Concrete Book), 1971. Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Ceal Floyer, Light Switch, 1992–9. Courtesy of Shan Qiang and Esther Schipper GmbH, Berlin, Germany.

Roman Signer, Table, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Art: Concept, Paris.

Inspired by a magic trick described in Christopher Priest’s 1995 novel The Prestige, The Transported Man exemplifies the three phases of a magic trick, wherein a magician appears onstage (the Pledge), disappears through a door (the Turn), and reappears immediately through another door (the Prestige). But how can a magic trick help us understand an artwork? The spectator of a magic trick wonders what happened in the ineffable moment when a magician disappears and reappears at the other side of the stage, in the same way a viewer might wonder what happened when a piece of soap, a mirror, or a shoe reappears as a sculpture.

To be efficient, a magic trick, like many other illusions, relies on a system of belief cultivated between the magician and his or her audience. The wider the gap between what the audience sees and what it is asked to believe, the more efficient and spectacular the trick can be. A good trick works only if the spectator can navigate between these two poles—between the feeling of witnessing pure magic and the impression of seeing an ordinary scene. If the spectator decides to consider only one of the poles (a simple fact or pure magic), the trick won’t work. The belief they attribute to what they see acts like a cursor in a field implemented not by category but by intensity, wherein an object can be transported between various states of presence while gaining the power of embodying multiple identities.

The Transported Man is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler, Director. Support for this exhibition is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Audemars Piguet, the Eli and Edythe Broad Endowed Exhibition Fund, and the MSU Broad’s general exhibitions fund.