The exhibition Uncertain Contracts brings together four works—Declared Void (in The RISD Museum collection), Body Techniques (after Parallel Stress, Dennis Oppenheim, 1970), Plato Contract, and Uncertain Contract—by British-American artist Carey Young (b. 1970). Young’s work focuses on interconnections between economic systems, legal culture, and the contemporary art world. Drawing from her own experience of working for corporate organizations, and employing the language of law, economics, and marketing, she creates fictional scenarios in various mediums. Her photographs, prints, videos, installations, and texts are regularly exhibited in art institutions, while some of her projects are specifically executed for public and commercial spaces.
Young’s multidisciplinary practice emerges from Conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 1970s and the appropriation art and institutional critique of the 1980s and 1990s. Sometimes she quotes directly from seminal historical works in her own pieces. Some works in the exhibition depict performances made either by the artist herself or professional actors; others alter the exhibition experience by requiring viewer participation. They all comment on current social or political topics, commodification, and the influence of legal and corporate culture on all aspects of personal and public life. They also demonstrate how Young works not as an outsider but within these predominant systems, positioning herself between complicity and resistance as she criticizes them playfully through the use of their own methods and language.