Nuit Blanche & Nick Cave, Chicago 2014
La Petite Mort Gallery Presents
NUIT BLANCHE OTTAWA + GATINEAU 2014
Featuring Nick Cave (Chicago, USA)
Guest Artists: Teresa Braun (New Jersey, USA),
Beth Frey (Montreal), Anna J Eyler & Nicolas Lapointe (Ottawa)
Curated by Gillian King & Adam Barbu
Opening Night Saturday, September 20, 2014 / 6pm to 4am
In Partnership with Artengine
Cover image: © Nick Cave. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Curatorial Statement by Adam Barbu & Gillian King.
The Matryoshka doll (commonly known as the Russian nesting doll), a seemingly innocent object, is dense with surreptitious meaning. The ideological crux of the Matryoshka is that its logical end is on the one hand, a single atom, and on the other, infinity. It is trapped within an endless state of completion and transition, fullness and emptiness, concealing and revealing. The doll is not only a picture of a body, but also acts as one.
Beginnings and ends are romantic illusions we construct to merely cope with the harshness of daily life. In this way, the concept of the sanctum points to the site of an imagined, innermost withdrawal in which we meet our voiceless passions. The question is not simply: What do surfaces reveal? But rather: What becomes trapped within them? And what is the perceivable limit of this search?
We have undoubtedly become anesthetized to the traffic of contemporary culture. But what occurs when the cyclical Sysiphean struggle becomes broken, when desire becomes displaced and refuses its expected course? The real work of creation begins when we follow these broken chain links further inward, towards the fictions of their origins: Refuge and repeat.
SANCTUM works on a notion of the body-as-vault. Artists Nick Cave, Teresa Braun, Beth Frey, Anna J Eyler and Nicolas Lapointe explore the theme through a number of different mediums, technological processes and visual strategies. Together, the installations trace ideas of both the ‘concealed’ and ‘too visible’, signalling the tenuousness, the anguish, as well as the sheer play involved in our search for self-knowledge
The conventional understanding of ‘bypassing’ assumes a kind of traceable, coherent movement that lead to ordered resolution. Instead, our reading emphasizes the distressed silences we must confront at this site of transition. Together, the facades and hollows of the sanctum interrupt an understanding of form as a neutral threshold of vision that mediates the internal/external binary. Only when penetrated (physically, symbolically, and otherwise) are surfaces revealed as passages, as skeletal bodies that map desire along a displaced lineage with no necessary point of exhaustion.
Nick Cave (Chicago, IL)
Nick Cave is an artist, educator and foremost a messenger, working between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including sculpture, installation, video, sound and performance. He says of himself “I have found my middle and now am working toward what I am leaving behind.” Cave is well known for his Soundsuits, sculptural forms based on the scale of his body. Soundsuits camouflage the body, masking and creating a second skin that conceals race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment.
In a 2013 feature in Interview Magazine, Cave said of his project HEARD•NY, a large scale performance in Grand Central Terminal organized by Creative Time, “I was really thinking of getting us back to this dream state, this place where we imagine and think about now and how we exist and function in the world. With the state of affairs on the world, I think we tend not to take the time out to create that dream space in our heads.” This is relevant to his practice as a whole.
Recent exhibitions include a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, Nick Cave: Sojourn at the Denver Art Museum; Nick Cave: The World is My Skin, Trapholt Museum, Denmark; Freeport 006: Nick Cave, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem; and Fantastic 2012, Lille 3000, Tri Postal, Lille. Cave will have a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016.
Public collections include the Brooklyn Museum; Crystal Bridges; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the High Museum; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Norton Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the De Young Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Orlando Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. He has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2006.
For SANCTUM, Nick Cave will be showing a recent work titled Blot. In this video, a dancer wearing a to-scale black sound suit performs for the camera. The dancer’s movements are mirrored across the central axis of the screen and brought down to hyper slow motion. The combined liquidity of these gestures constructs a symbolic space that evokes a kind of autonomous and performative rourschach blot.
Teresa Braun (Montclair, NJ)
Teresa Braun is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, sculpture, and installation. Her work has been shown in several solo and group exhibitions, including My Winnipeg: The Artists’ Choice at the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently part of the production team for “Imagining O”, directed by Richard Schechner, founder of Environmental Theatre and Performance Studies at NYU. In 2011 she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours degree and a University Gold Medal. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center. The Winnipeg Arts Council, Manitoba Arts Council, and Video Pool Media Arts Centre have supported her work.
Teresa Braun will be taking over the lower level of the gallery to carry out an exclusive large-scale performance and installation.
She writes: “The work is loosely framed around narratives of slaughter, sacrifice, and choral traditions. I explore spectrums of human/animal behavior and autistic perception through object-making, live actions, and videos. As I attempt to give the fragmented nature of perception physical form, there is a consequent tension. The work contains expressions of this through mnemonically resonant colours, textures, and sounds as I unravel and rebuild inchoate recollections, weaving my own mythologies through them. I oscillate between embodiment and enactment, seeking to deconstruct perceptive assumptions through reverse births and unbutcherings.”
Beth Frey (Montreal, QC)
My sculptural work has come about as an extension of my drawing practice, first by working through installations of two-dimensional material, and now incorporating freestanding structures alongside it. These two processes find a way to interact with one another through my examination of girlhood and corporeal boundaries. The sculpture often takes a layered approach, and often comes as the result of several two-dimensional planes layered and collaged over one another: sculpture made via a drawing sensibility.
At the core of my work is the permeability of the body and the dissolution of both physical and socially-constructed boundaries that make up the self. The emission of fluids from the body provides a rupture of these boundaries, and can be used as a site of transgression against social mores. I apply these notions to the concept of girlhood, which comes with a share of specific social expectations to be well-behaved, pretty, and pleasant, among other things. The blurred physical boundaries of the girls I create are at once negotiating their position of bodies in flux as well as using these ruptures to rebel against the codes prescribed to them.
I attempt to explore these things with humor and vulnerability, culling symbols from art history and popular culture to bring forth questions on the place of feminism in youth culture and how such social movements can be appropriated in the search for identity that comes with growing up.
For SANCTUM, Beth Frey will be creating a large-scale window installation environment.
Anna J Eyler & Nicolas Lapointe (Ottawa, ON)
Anna Eyler is a sculptor and media artist who explores notions of ritual, narrative, and communication through her interactive sound and media installations. Often interfacing outdated media and traditional crafts with digital technologies, her work expands on notions of memory and history to explore our relationship with the past. Frequently evoking childlike toys, her minimalist sculptures juxtapose the playful with the mundane to offer a new understanding of our everyday lives.
Nicolas Lapointe’s work focuses on themes of construction, masculinity, conflict, and the transmission of intergenerational knowledge, using an industrial aesthetic to reflect on these issues within contemporary culture. His practice currently includes performance, video, and interactive art, drawing inspiration from diverse sources including popular culture, media, and architecture. His works often play with notions of absurdity, juxtaposing seemingly contradictory elements to create a sense of dislocation and surprise while at the same time evoking the familiar.
For SANCTUM, the artists will be creating a mixed media sculpture titled ⊃∪∩∪⊂, to be situated in the middle of the gallery space.
⊃∪∩∪⊂ (2014) is a mixed-media sculpture combining electronics with cast concrete and fluorescent yellow Plexiglas. The translucent Plexiglas reflects back the ambient light of the space, causing the edges to glow to create a defined yet visually permeable structure. Two rectangular, concrete columns support the sheet of Plexiglas, which emerges from the rough sides of the concrete, distressed and eroded to reference the passage of time. Rather than suggesting a stable core beneath the concrete layer, however, the work uses the translucency and luminosity of the Plexiglas to echo back the environment of the site. In this sense, the piece suggests a hidden interior, but that interior is ultimately empty.
A 4-Digit LED is embedded in the concrete, displaying constantly changing (and seemingly infinite) computations of data, which draw attention to the layers of digital information present in our technologically saturated world. Recessed in the column’s surface, the digits appear to communicate the inner machinations (or thoughts) of the sculpture. This ‘animation’ of the inanimate draws connections between the ‘minds’ of machines and human consciousness.