“Nothing tells memories from ordinary moments. Only afterward do they claim remembrance on account of their scars.” Chris Marker’s La Jetée
Memory Leaks is a personally charged show of works that were tattooed in my brain, a subjective momentary ordering of memory, time and meaning. It is about making intangible memories palpable again; about images that ooze into my consciousness without me calling them and how time rolls back precipitated by them, making other memories leak. The show features drawing, photography, sculpture, video and performance, by Angela Freiberger, Auguste Garufi, Robin Graubard, Geneviève Maquinay, Lui Shtini, Julie Tolentino, Carlo Zanni and Krzysztof Zarebski.
I have always been intrigued by the way some images or a body of work by a given artist affects me. I seek to understand why these works linger in my mind amidst the swarm of images that I have experienced, why they keep coming back and how my remembrance of them has mutated with time. In the process of retrieving, finding and reintroducing myself to the work or the artists for the first time, it has been revealing to see the threads amongst them; how my recollections are often linked to the feelings or memories triggered, thus providing vital clues to what has marked me in time and highlighting the importance of emotion in the fixation and recalling of memories.
Several artists perceive the body as a locus of art-making. Angela Freiberger’s Strong Body is a celebratory video peopled with multiple self-portraits about her resilience as a sculptor and performance artist, with sardonic notes on the complexities of religion and nationality. Julie Tolentino will present a sculpture entitled LEAD:Led, a trace of a private performance (performed by Aliza Shvarts for curator Monica Espinel) which touches on notions of loss and transition, evoking a presence through absence in the residual traces of the live action. Krzysztof Zarebski’s Message 1 is built of readymade materials like snips of magnetic tape and a telephone handset, which pertain to the sense of hearing but have long since lost their original appearance and utility, yet preserve memories of their origins, potentially encapsulating some music, sounds, words.
Other works touch on illness such as Carlo Zanni’s The Possible Ties Between Illness and Success, an unsettling short fiction film that uses data flux from the Internet to generate its visuals. It is inspired by John Haskell’s "American Purgatorio" and the work of psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison who explored the relationship between manic-depression and success at large. A black and white portrait by Robin Graubard, The Doll Hospital, is a gripping, intense image that portrays with absolute intimacy and empathy the vulnerability of a girl waiting for surgery on a hospital bed in Sarajevo.
Yet others reflect on process, materials and juxtapositions. A sculpture installation by Auguste Garufi is composed of Japanese paper and resin vessels with slight chromatic fluctuations. Together they elucidate the translucency and weight of paper, and reflect on his process of making work that builds on itself, that is exposed to the elements, like our own lives. Geneviève Maquinay’s sculptures are an archeology of objects arrested in their process of aging and oblivion that touch and balance each other, taking on a new beauty and harmony, which transmits her sensitivity to commonplace wonders. Lui Shtini’s uncanny drawings in a hyperrealistic style challenge our perception of known objects by creating images with bizarre twists that awaken that language of the unconscious.
- Monica Espinel