Artist of the Week: Chris Bors

New York based artist Chris Bors blurs the lines between the autobiographical and the childhood myth.

Chris Bors Portrait

What are you currently working on?

I am always making new paintings, but recently I have experimented more with materials than I have in the past. I just completed a few more abstract pieces incorporating fluorescent acrylic paint and silkscreen on cloth, as well as skateboard griptape. For my solo show at Randall Scott Projects in Washington, D.C. last year I exhibited a series of outlined circles, some with drips of color, that were focused specifically on texture and color with no other narrative references, so some of my new work is an extension of that theme. I am also continuing my series of paintings using logos from hardcore punk bands that often use the template for Paint with Water activity books for children.

In your “Drip” series, you seem to call out to elements of pop culture to designate a destruction, a decomposition of some sort. What is falling apart for you?

Well, it is hard to assign a literal meaning to them, but I am interested in Jean Baudrillard’s thesis that we are already living in an indefinite, ethereal phase, where it is much harder to see who we are, where we have been and where we are going because there is no end point. Clones, copies and digital forms can be just as meaningful now. Recent world events seem like a repetition of past incidents, the same way that art movements are repackaged for a new audience.

Double Drip

Can you explain the premise behind your fictitious gallery, Triton Gallery LLC? How does fiction operate in your work? Is it a medium or a praxis?

Triton Gallery, LLC, which I started with my wife, the Greek Cypriot painter, Ketta Ioannidou, was as a conceptual art project from 2007 through 2009. We invited artists to have solo exhibitions that existed only on the web, but they were presented as if they were taking place in a physical, brick and mortar space in Nicosia, the capital city of the country of Cyprus. We eventually curated a real video screening called “Chimera” with 18 international artists that took place at Envoy Gallery in New York and then traveled to Arcade Experimental Art Projects/Stoa Aeschylou in Nicosia. Fiction was very important in my early work, which was more performative. In my new video Omegle Picasso, 2014, I cam chat with anonymous people under the guise of a vintage photograph of Pablo Picasso. It may become a sporadically recorded performance. Fiction is definitely something I’m interested in as concept, but it’s not a comprehensive theoretical framework.

How do you choose to incorporate autobiographical elements in your work? At what capacity do you unveil your history?

Again, with my earlier work it was more blatant, such as my video Slayer…Slayer…Slayer, 2003, which describes a hallucinogenic experience and includes real footage of the head of Slayer’s security team talking to me after I was thrown over the barricade at one of their concerts at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. Now, it is more subtle, but it’s still there, such as in Cro-Mags, 2013, which shows a Cypriot man drinking a Keo brand beer and eating souvlaki.

Although my digital collages created using images swiped from the web could be seen as being made by an obsessed fan of these subjects, they have autobiographical references as well. I’ve slowed down a bit. Revealing too much can be overly simplistic and it’s more challenging for an artwork to be opaque. I like presenting a mishmosh of loaded signifiers that I may or may not have a strong relationship with. Autobiography can be a jumping off point, but not a definitive answer.

No Redeeming Social Value

What is your next challenge?

To experiment more with materials and to make work that doesn’t look like art. Also, to insert more morally ambiguous content. Art and life shouldn’t be boring.

Awkward Thought

Why choose childhood as a stepping stone?

As Mike Kelley said, “An adolescent is a dysfunctional adult, and art is a dysfunctional reality.” My paintings based on Paint with Water activity books relate to childhood for example, but I am more interested in their graphic quality and formal elements than nostalgia.

What is there too much and too little of?

The world is not black and white; step out of your bubble. Not enough risk taking.

What is your WILD Wish?

To have a career like Martin Kippenberger’s, minus the alcoholism.


All images © Chris Bors. Courtesy the artist.

text by: Michael Valinsky

Don't yet have an account? now!

Order The Radiant Issue Today

Order The Radiant Issue Today

Order The Radiant Issue Today

Order The Radiant Issue Today