CHADWICK RANTANEN
"ONE PLUS ONE"

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04.05.-10-05.2020:   CHADWICK RANTANEN
11.05.-17.05.2020:   TORBJØRN RØDLAND
18.05.-24.05.2020:   ASAL PEIROVI
25.05.-31.05.2020:   MIKAEL LO PRESTI
01.06.-07.06.2020:   MARI SLAATTELID
08.06.-14.06.2020:   GARDAR EIDE EINARSSON
15.06.-21.06.2020:   MICHAELA MEISE
22.06.-28.06.2020:   HANNAH RYGGEN
29.06.-05.07.2020:   NINA BEIER
06.07.-12.07.2020:   MARIUS ENGH
13.07.-19.07.2020:   FREDRIK VÆRSLEV


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Whenever I am in Los Angeles, where Chadwick Rantanen lives and works, I always visit Flight Club. It is a shoe store located on Fairfax Avenue. I would normally stop by on my way to dinner at Animal, or one of the other restaurants further down the street, finding myself with a few minutes extra and needing to see where the world is going.

Flight Club sells sneakers. That is to say that they sell rare sneakers. And more than anything, they sell exclusive and collectible Air Jordans. That is probably one of the few markets less affected by the Corona virus crisis, as “The Last Dance” - the Michael Jordan docu series - continues to gather record numbers of viewers. And to match that, Flight Club has a record number of Air Jordans. Floor to ceiling. Left shoe. Left shoe. Left shoe. All of them on display in plastic shrink wrap to protect and maintain them in mint condition. Air Jordans of all editions, of endless variations, of one-off colours and collaborations. From 1984 until now. The continous inflection of the base form initially provided by the designer Peter C. Moore – and that was banned by the NBA upon its introduction because it did not have the sufficient amount of white on them (51% was the minimum) – making it the most remarkable development of any sport signature shoe and marking one of the most comprehensive documents of industrial design. These designs tell us a lot of who we are, where we have been and where we thought we were going. Traditions, innovations, trends, tributes, triumphs, minor and major incidents, true concerns and commemorations, fads, retros, designer one-liners and names ringing hollow by now: “Phantom”, “Wings of the Future”, “Emerald Easter”. Evocative, like billboards advertising new condos for sale. Shrink wrapped, these sneakers are simultaneously crisp and preserved. They are neither of our time nor showing signs of time passed. You turn the shoe around to find the price tag on the bottom of the sole, and realise that there just might be the tiniest of gaps between deadstock and vintage.

Chadwick Rantanen does not wear Air Jordans, but we talk about them and their design often enough, and sometimes we end up making a visit to Flight Club together. Chadwick is concerned with the problems of design, or how design is problematic, or how he can create a problem out of design. I am not always sure which one is which. He is probably not sure either, which is why he keeps on making new works. Though, the work on my mind right now is an older one, “Rack Line”. It dates back to 2014. Aluminum poles loosely assembled, with vinyls of various colours adhered, and pieces of tape with instructions and numbers scribbled on top of them; the work somehow appears as a sketch preparing its own making. It makes sure to keep whatever is the problem of design still a problem. Unfinished and unresolved. Rantanen is not only mapping out concept, concerns and conditions for the work itself, but what other versions of the work could exist. Similar to the wall of Air Jordans, the intentions and inflections of the base form have long since merged to provide a logic where the essence is variation. A moodboard of restlessly changing moods. Which might simply be some of that logic that sustains Capitalism: the finely tuned balancing of consumption choices vice versa demand schedule. Reports came out of Georgia of huge crowds gathering in shopping malls after the lockdown restrictions were lifted, to buy the new Air Jordan 5 “Fire Red” sneakers. They were retailing at 200 US Dollars and sold out instantly.

The most expensive pair of Air Jordans that you currently can obtain from Flight Club, is a retro version of the original Air Jordan 1s. It is a limited edition in black, white and yellow, with the words “Not For Resale” reading across the side of the sole. Fittingly enough, the pair is a resale and will cost you 3385 US Dollars in a US size 9. A lot of money but little concern to those who has plenty of it. Like the Count Keyserlingk that had more than enough wealth but less than what he needed of sleep. With a golden goblet filled with 100 “Louis-d'or” - the golden coins that were the currency of choice in 1741 - he commissioned Johann Sebeastian Bach to compose some clavier pieces to be performed and keep him entertained during his insomniac nights. The result was a score consisting of a statement aria followed by thirty contrapuntal variations, which at times deviate from the melody but all employs the same bass line and chord progression. There are manifold of pianists that have recorded it, interpreted it, and even transcribed it and reworked it to have a different instrumentation, different notes or both. However, few did what Glenn Gould did: make what was widely considered a masterful recording only to do another one years later because he himself had grown unhappy with it.

With Glenn Gould you get variations of the variations. The breathlessly speedy finger technique of the 1955 recording – with great clarity of articulation and little use of sustaining pedal – is giving way for a far more mellow and more reflective interpretation in 1981. In an interview published with the second recording, which happened to be released merely days before his death in 1982, Gould admitted about the first of the recordings: “I can no longer recognize the person who did that. To me today that piece has intensity without any sort of false glamour. Not a pianistic or instrumental intensity, a spiritual intensity.” Coming to an end, but to a less dramatic end, Michael Jordan was revisiting his history upon visiting the Madision Square Garden for his last game as a Chicago Bull player. As a homage to the basketball-loving city of New York, he decided to play the game in his original Air Jordan 1s. In his post-game interview, Michael stated: “It’s been a long time since I wore them, and it’s kinda fun to come back here and play and to remember some of the old days and some of the games I’ve had here, and the shoes are a part of that. My feet are killing me, but it was fun.”


Eivind Furnesvik

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Chadwick Rantanen
Rack Line
2014

Aluminum, industrial masking tape, marker, pen and masking tape
20 Aluminum Racks, each: 248.92 x 22.86 x 10.16 cm / 98 x 9 x 4 in / 98 x 9 x 4 in
Unique / SOCR/S 2014-037

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