A Real Pleasure

Nicolas G. Miller
Exhibition: 5 August – 8 October 2017
Opening: Saturday 5 August. 7-9pm
Curated by Justen Waterhouse and Ross Young
INCA: 2 West Roy St. Seattle, WA, 98110


Ok, this exhibition is mostly sculptures, along with some printed matter and a voice. For the sculptures I worked with a manufacturing company from Southern California called AWO. I should probably come clean right off the bat: this was my first attempt to work directly with AWO. Which is not to say that I didn’t want to work with them earlier, but, ya know, they’re not always so available.

Why AWO? Well, it hasn’t been easy to find someone who will entertain my peculiar inquiries. For example, I am very curious about the double meaning of the word “fabrication.” On the one hand, it means the process of inventing or manufacturing something. On the other, it is a lie. They say that it has the same two meanings in French. Now that’s when you know you are really onto something! It’s also this thing of being an artist who is interested in industrial production. The things of industry seem so real. And here you are, just an artist, always playing around, and people pressure you to do something serious. They really do. They say all sorts of things. But it is truly impossible to give it all up. Ya know, you’ve got your own AWO. We all do.

Now the voice is a bit harder to talk about. It too appears to be real, but at the same time has something of the feeling of a thought, as if it weren’t really there. Now I have a saying for you. But it requires a little back-story: There once was a writer in ancient Rome named Plutarch. He took it upon himself to write many things, including a long work called Moralia. In this work there are a few sections on “sayings.” He separated these sayings into categories: “Sayings of Kings and Commanders,” “Sayings of Romans,” “Sayings of Spartans,” and “Sayings of Spartan Women.” At some point these were all spread around as notes, but by now they’ve been bound together in a few handsome, green volumes. Here Plutarch says something very precise about the voice. A saying we could possibly use today. He writes of a Spartan who very cruelly plucked all the feathers from a nightingale. When the Spartan saw how little meat was underneath all those feathers, he said “you are just a voice and nothing more.”1

Nicolas G. Miller
27 July 2017
Los Angeles, California

1 Plutarch, Moralia: Sayings of Spartans [233 #15, Loeb Edition]

Nicolas G. Miller is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles, California. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Studio Art at the University of California, Irvine. For half a decade he has co-hosted The Talking Show with the inimitable Steve Kado, a radio program dedicated to talking in/as/for visual art on KCHUNG Radio. In addition, he is currently the executive producer of the artist’s edition imprint Recondite Industries, which will soon proudly release two new editions by Lakshmi Luthra and Anthony DeSimone.