Standard Deviations

15 January - 14 February, 2015
Grin, Providence

An administrative or social system that relies on a set of rules and procedures, separation of functions and a hierarchical structure in implementing controls over an organization, government or social system.

Sandra Erbacherʼs latest works examine the institutional as an abstract, formless, and bureaucratic entity. The objects incorporated in her work, whether photographic or sculptural in form are typically found within an institutional setting: an ordinary office plant, cream-coloured carpeting, a standard beige box fan, or a uniform, avocado green wall-mounted telephone. The sole purpose of the existence of these objects seems to be to organize human activity, to maximize efficiency, maintain order and thus aid in the imposition of a rule-based hierarchical system of rational control.

What happens though, if said objects refuse to conform to their standard mode of operation? This is the question at the heart of Erbacherʼs inquiry. Her objects are activated through material interventions and, as a result, display a rebelliousness that could potentially pose a threat to the institutional order: A carpet covering a gallery wall with an anarchy symbol shaved into its fibres; a larger-than-life photograph of a small box fan filled with concrete; and an HVAC system that emits a muffled version of Roxetteʼs ʻDangerous’. Instead of promoting an efficient work-flow, Erbacherʼs objects are unruly. They break down, become dysfunctional and fail to fulfil their purpose. Yet it is exactly their failure that holds their potential to subvert the systems and structures they are supposed to perpetuate from within.

McQuaid, Cate, 2015: 'Key to Erbacher is Interactivity' in The Boston Globe, January 27 2015
Corcoral, Heather, 2015: Office Space: Sandra Erbacher’s Institutional Critique Takes Aim at Modern Bureaucracies

Hum, 2014, Wall-mounted rotary phone, sound equipment, 5 ½ x 9 ½ in
Goat Rodeo, 2015, neon, 12 x 40in

Hum, 2014, Wall-mounted rotary phone, sound equipment, 5 ½ x 9 ½ in from Sandra Erbacher on Vimeo.

Tall Skinny Latte, 2014, Bronze cast of Starbucks cup, 7x3in

Gnaw, 2014, Maple

Fan (Concrete Poetry), 2014, Archival inkjet print, 43x60in

The Rock Collector, 2014, Amethysts, concrete, steel, wood, plexi, 10 x 10 x 45in

Appendix 7, Bic pen on paper, 22x30in