With Conversation 17, CORINNE DE SAN JOSE methodically wraps everyday objects with fabric, neither to obscure nor hide, but to transform the materiality of her subjects— hammer, vase, wine bottle—into objets d’art.
Like her previous exhibit titles, Conversation 17 is a song reference, a play on the title of a song by The National. She connects the song to the idea of suffering from oblivion, or losing identity, grasping to control how your surroundings affect you.
The subjects are all concealed, completely wrapped, but there is no doubt as to what they are. By wrapping, their essential form is revealed rather than concealed. She has picked the most mundane of objects, binds it so that we will never know of its make or type. The selection is deliberate; we easily associate these objects with gender—from the sharp phallic tools to the curvy and round vessels. In the final process, the only visible layer is what we would easily associate with the feminine—floral fabric set against another floral fabric. Layer upon layer, the juxtaposition is at once jarring and beautiful.
But it’s the patterns of fabric that have a mesmeric effect, like staring into a stereogram. We are drawn in to look a few seconds longer than we originally intended, the clashing prints a visual, tactile overload, a still life that demands more of your time.
To wrap something is also to protect it, and the impulse to protect, to heighten that which is basic or essential is perhaps the strongest conceptual link to CORINNE’s past works.