Czech-born, Manchester-based artist Pavel Büchler has long been an influential teacher and writer whose work is characterized by a reworking of images, objects and experiences. In doing so, he fuses conventional visual languages with disruptive and intuitive acts of reapplication and re-purposing. Büchler’s works range from large-scale installations using old-style audiovisual technology to text works and meticulous conceptual drawings to minimal gestures such as a video paused on a TV screen for a year. Describing his practice as “making nothing happen,” he attends to the catalytic nature of art and the potential for the seemingly banal to be exposed for its strangeness.
In the Front Room, Büchler presents Work (All the cigarette breaks, October 2008 – February 2011) (2008-2011). Comprising over 800 individual pictures, this large-scale composite takes its largest form to date. Created by CAM staff according to his instructions, Work documents every smoking break Büchler has taken while installing exhibitions over a two-year period. This by-product and partial document of the artist’s exhibition-making over time allows him to trace the places, people and institutions he has encountered, while creating a subtle suggestion of his presence even when “absent.” Nearly filling a large wall in The Front Room, Büchler’s presentation represents a picture of social exchange, solitary contemplation, and the interstitial spaces of art-making.