16 March - 12 May, 2018
Border Patrol, Portland, ME
For TIIC, Sandra Erbacher presents a suite of seven formal portraits of both Nazi officials and IBM managing directors. Collectively known as Faces of Fascism and Bureaucracy, the portraits are part of an ongoing series of graphite drawings that the artist initially created as a response to Edwin Black’s book, IBM and the Holocaust, which charts the business connections between IBM and the Nazi regime. In the process of drawing, the artist's initial concern to chart the parallels between fascism and bureaucracy--evident here in the authoritative expressions, formal business attire and homogeneity of race and gender--extended to an interest in the assumed status of the archive as a neutral container for an objective, historical truth.
Erbacher aims to construct an archive that casts the boundaries between fact and fiction into doubt; in fact, the portraits of IBM directors and Nazi officials appear almost interchangeable. The work poses questions about the ways in which dominant power relationships are tied up with the creation and governance of an archive or narrative history and how such an archive shapes one’s relationship to the past, present and future.
The more deliberately obscure exhibition title, TIIC (an acronym for The Idiots in Charge) is taken from the eponymous neon artwork in the gallery’s back room. Extracted from its particular corporate context, TIIC alludes to business jargon, occupational acronyms, and corporate communications. This commonplace if not irrational class of language is traditionally employed by government agencies as a tactic of abstraction and reinforced by the gallery’s intentional resemblance to an office waiting room.
Photos courtesy of Joel Tsui.
TIIC, Installation View, Border Patrol
Funk, 2018, graphite on paper in walnut frame, 7x7in drawing, 11 1/4x 11 1/4in with frame
Schwanitz, 2018, graphite on paper in walnut frame, 7x7in drawing, 11 1/4x 11 1/4in with frame
Becker, 2018, graphite on paper in walnut frame, 7x7in drawing, 11 1/4x 11 1/4in with frame
TIIC (The Idiots in Charge), 2015, neon, transformer, 18 x 14in