Every Crack, Every _ _ _ _
|When||10 Jan 2020 - 9 Feb 2020|
291 Grand St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY NY
Every Crack, Every _ _ _ _ explores the optics of the overlooked. Many of the exhibition’s artworks share an engagement with the thematic of landscape, presenting visual fields that are detached from industrial ideals of linear growth. Taking inspiration from the practice of leaving land fallow, the incongruous and the ignored are recoded as sites of possibility and regeneration. Within urban contexts, pockets of withdrawal are similarly abundant, and other works in the exhibition convey the minor gazes and materials out of which oppositional social possibilities form. Making use of a range of strategies and vernaculars, the exhibition questions representational logics based on negation and eradication, while seeding affirmative, situated propositions instead.
Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho’s watercolor paintings overlay pastoral views of swidden fields in Southeast Asia with arrangements of vegetarian delicacies from a fine-dining restaurant in Taipei. Swidden agriculture is an indigenous method of farming which follows a rotational cycle: clearing land through burning, cultivating crops, and regenerating the forest. Recognized as one of the few agricultural practices that enriches the earth, its cyclical nature poses an innate provocation to colonial delineations of land as property. Meanwhile, the still-lives present food as a boutique experience. Gathering together layers of rice paper, joss paper, watercolor, and ink, the compositions explore the contradictions of visual imagination associated with competing ecologies of production and consumption.
Batalla (2019) and Desafío (2015–19), a pair of assemblages by José López Serra, are made of everyday items found on the street or in hardware and dollar stores in the neighborhood of Río Piedras, San Juan. In 2014, three major credit agencies downgraded numerous bonds issued by Puerto Rico to “junk status,” citing concerns about weak growth and ability to access capital markets. This prevented the Puerto Rican government from selling further bonds, and led to the implementation of the contentious PROMESA Act, which precipitated the island’s bankruptcy in 2017. Serra’s “painting objects” inveigh against the social and material inequities that are driven by financialization, while suggesting that other narratives can be supported by the scrapping of state-sanctioned promises of freedom.
Martin Beck’s wall work Directions (2010) charts the route from Haight-Ashbury, the storied San Francisco intersection, to Drop City, notably the first countercultural commune formed in Colorado in 1965, and active into the late 1960s. Beck mapped the journey using contemporary geolocation software, presenting a conceptual “scaffold” through which to interpret the legacy of the counter-cultural gesture of dropping out. Painted Side Up (2010) likewise stems from the artist’s research into planned communities. A sculptural grouping of modular recycled car tops ambiguously conflates the consumer freedom that underpins the U.S. automobile industry with the collectivist ideology of geodesic domes.
Charlotte Prodger’s Passing as a Great Grey Owl (2017) features found footage of a female biologist mimicking the call of the male Great Grey Owl, counterposed with video of the legs of women as they urinate in various wildernesses. The possibility of a queer territoriality is exuberantly raised through these colliding activities and their humorous descriptions of interspecies relations. Among the other source materials in the video is a passage from of “(I Am) For the Birds,” the final essay in Here is Information. Mobilise, a book of selected writings by the artist and curator Ian White. The video was originally commissioned by LUX and LUX Scotland for an event celebrating the life and work White (1971–2013).
The figures in Elle Pérez’s portrait Tomashi and Ally (2019) boldly affirm the presence of the camera, acknowledging the influence of mediation even within intimate configurations. Pérez’s landscapes are similarly imbued with relationality, such as one composition in this exhibition, untitled (2019), that shows the roots of two trees entwined. The image presents an allegory for the activeness of entanglement within Pérez’s work, and invokes the values of multiplicity, abundance, and contemplation that guide it.
The artworks in Every Crack, Every _ _ _ _ imagine economies of collaboration and mutuality, providing renewed narratives through quiet gestures.
Image courtesy of the event organizer.
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