Social Synthetic by Seth Price at Stedelijk Museum

Seth Price, born in 1973, is a post-conceptual artist based in New York. His work is multi-disciplinary, as it covers a large spectrum of techniques, including painting, installations, collage or multimedia, aiming to tackle various topics such as cultural consumerism or the rise of new technologies.

Currently exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Social synthetic is a comprehensive overview of Seth Price’s artistic career so far, presenting more than 140 works made since 2000.dscf2773.jpg

The exhibition starts with impressive imprints of bomber jackets into large-size metallic golden coloured canvas (The Vintage Bomber, 2005-2008). The artist is playing with structure and diverse material to achieve different visual and impactful effects.


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While these jackets appear rather abstract at first sight, Price here contemplates the way a utilitarian object invented by the military becomes contained and modified, first by recurrent waves of 20th century subcultures, finally by the global fashion industry.

For Price, the plastic material used on the relief, holds both cultural and symbolic references such as the belief in progress, the packaging industry with the distribution of consumer goods and the infinite possibilities of digital manipulation.



A leitmotiv found along the whole exhibition are calendars, where Price appears to express time visually in figurative forms, again with references to new technology, visibly playing a key role in the entirety of his exposed artwork.


An essential theme in Price’s work is the self under technological pressure. This is often conveyed through the use of human skin surfaces, packaging, and wrapping. For instance, Seth Price engaged in a photographic study of a person’s skin, which he obtained via Google maps technologies. A large wall sculpture also depicts the negative space between people involved in everyday tasks such as eating or drinking, found on small jpg formats on the internet. Through these means, Price tries to communicate continuous reformatting of human experience in a digital age.


Using the knots with ropes, applied on the canvas itself represents fluidity of cultural material, following up on the artist’s project and his Essay with knots (2008).

In Price’s work, clothing and envelopes can be considered as analogous receptacles: Human Body and Messages. At dOcumenta(13), the artist collaborated with a fashion designer Tim Hamilton, to release a collection of clothing, while simultaneously exhibiting the same textile motives through sculpture or painting.


The artist is also interested in drawing, installations and projections:


To finish with, here is an image of the artist himself as well as some of his own literary works:

Credits to Petzel Gallery

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Seth Price’s artwork is very contemporary and timely, in a way that each of us can easily relate to the themes he explores. His innovative techniques and multi-disciplinarity make the exhibition very diverse and entertaining, presenting issues in a new light and sharing his creativity with the audience.

If you want to visit the exhibition, Social Synthetic continues at Stedelijk Museum until September 3rd, 2017.


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