James Beckett, KaVo

James Beckett

KaVo Zahnarztstuhl Regie 1520 A

This exhibition takes the form of a celebratory showroom for the innovative treatment unit of German dental company KaVo. As a focus on a technical feature of dentistry, this is the first in a series of projects by Beckett that explore the field in a vocational as well as scientific capacity.

Abbreviated as “Regie”, the 1520 A unit is displayed by Beckett in cross-section, a method common for the display of technical devices in order to reveal their inner workings. The longitudinal dissecting of the unit into two distinct pieces plays with the chair as a bulky yet complex mass, creating intricate shapes that in turn flirt with abstraction. Accompanied by the company’s original operating and promotional material, the arrangement is reframing the industrial branding and communications ethos – pursuing potential in its language as a basis for new corollary. Regie is a prelude to a new book that Beckett is working on in direct collaboration with twenty dentists, under the title Tooth: Twenty Personal Accounts. Revealing human as well as medical aspects of the profession, the project seeks to build a sort of anthropological compendium of dentistry.

As a prolific artist, editor and musician, Beckett covers a variety of media and subjects in his practice. As much physical as biographical, his investigations often explore minor histories concerned with the development (and subsequent demise) of industry. Museological display mechanisms are key in his presentation, with craft-like assembly placing the work uncomfortably between bourgeois decorative art and a crude social reality.

Solo shows in the last two years include TWAAS, New York; Blank Projects, Cape Town; Neuer Kunstverein, Vienna; T293, Rome. Recent group exhibitions in 2012 and 2013 include Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Steirische Herbst, Graz; De Appel, Amsterdam; Wattis, San Fransisco; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Dak’art, African Biennale in Dakar. Beckett’s work has also been shown at GAM, Turin; ICA, London; Romanian Biennial, Bucharest; The Kitchen, New York and the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne. He is a recipient of the Prix de Rome in 2003.

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James Beckett, KaVo Zahnarztstuhl Regie 1520 A, 19 April - 14 June
KaVo Zahnarztstuhl Regie 1520 A, 2014
KaVo Zahnarztstuhl Regie 1520 A, 2014
Installation of dentist chair in cross-section with associated devices.
Original operating and promotional material in 10 frames (variable sizes).