Currently at the Luminary, Know Yourself is a group exhibition that features the artists Conrad Bakker, Chris Bradley, Marianne Laury, Eva and Franco Mattes, Edra Soto, and Julia Weist. The exhibition shares its title with a Drake song in which the rapper looks back on his life, claiming his authenticity and lineage among other artists. He expounds, “I’ve always been me, I guess I know myself,” and hopes that the “fakes get exposed.” After its release, Drake was infamously accused of hiring a ghostwriter. Taking inspiration from this ironic scandal, Know Yourself presents a group of artists who explore the instability of authenticity and ownership within the present sphere of economic production and consumption. The works approach the concept of authenticity from multiple points, leveraging commonplace objects to question the authorship of forms and ideas.
In front, a multitude of postcard-size images cover the gallery windows in an ordered gestalt. This installation, Julia Weist’s Parbunkells Image Archive (Composition for Inside and Outside) (2015–2016), documents a body of work that started when Weist was commissioned to turn a vacant billboard in New York into a public artwork. Her concept was simple: In black Apple Garamond font on a white ground, she presented the 17th-century English term parbunkells. The billboard looked more like a sleek advertisement for a new product than an archaic, forgotten word (at the time of Weist’s encounter with the term, there were no Google search results for parbunkells). After the unveiling, the word quickly went viral. Its original meaning—“coming together through the binding of two ropes”—shifted as the public began inventing new definitions and merchandising the word, resulting in a massive body of work, not made by the artist, but instigated by Weist through her choice and placement of a word. The images at the Luminary are culled from these appropriations. Occasional photos containing the word, including some of the original billboard, are peppered throughout otherwise unconnected, mundane imagery.