David Krut Projects is pleased to present In Development, Christopher Cozier’s first solo exhibition in New York. The exhibition consists of mixed-media drawings on paper, recent monotypes and linocuts created at David Krut Print Workshop in Johannesburg, and silkscreen prints made at Axelle Fine Art in Brooklyn.
Born and based in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Cozier’s work investigates the problematic space of post-independence: the symbols of power that remain and change shape, the complex narratives of development, and the loss of history and culture to commercial expansion and profitability. Images appear and repeat in Cozier’s drawings and prints, a visual vocabulary developed and expanded over the last twenty years in his performance, installation and sound work. He makes sense of his fascination with the ordinary objects around him through drawing, recording and notetaking on paper. Sharp graphite marks and letters swirl and cross, interrupted by areas of erasure and ink washes of color.
In this exhibition, Cozier cuts geometric patterns out of paper, a pattern derived from suburban concrete ‘breeze bricks.’ Post Trinidad’s independence from British rule in 1962, these patterns became pervasive throughout the Caribbean in the 1960s and 70s with the rise of the middle class and the boom of new housing developments. Used abundantly in other tropical countries, the bricks function to open and ventilate space without containing it. In Cozier’s work, this familiar pattern represents the possibility and longing of those in political and social transition across the world. It articulates, at once, a nation’s unresolved promise for a brighter future and the inevitable compromise and sense of displacement that accompanies “progress.”
Though the images in his work reference where Cozier lives, they resonate as trans-cultural symbols, tapping into the imaginations and experiences of people everywhere. We see the empty lot, a site where history is reduced to real estate; a table brush, also called the silent butler, used in colonial times to collect crumbs and ashes; bare feet sticking out from nowhere, a glimpse perhaps of a crime scene. The repeating image of the isolated tree (which stands outside the forensic center in Port of Spain) is a symbol of persistence and hope in the face of violence and corruption. Cut down and burnt through, the tree still grows.
Characteristic of Cozier’s participatory work and interest in the multiple, he has created a limited edition cardboard and aluminum template, along with a corresponding instructional online video. Thoughts and photos of the designs created can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be posted on this blog:
Christopher Cozier (b. 1959) is an artist, curator, and writer living and working in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Cozier’s work has been included in exhibitions, “Into the Mix” at Kentucky Museum of Art, “Afro Modern” at The Tate Liverpool and “Infinite Island” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His work has also been included in the 7th Havana Biennial, The Stenersen Museum in Oslo, the Chicago Cultural Center, among others. He is the co-founder of Alice Yard, an arts organization and residency facilitating regular exhibitions, performances and discussions in Port of Spain. Cozier co-curated “Wrestling with an Image: Caribbean Interventions at the Museum of the Americas” in Washington, D.C. in 2011. He was an editorial adviser to BOMB Magazine for their Americas issues (Winters, 2003 – 2005) and was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2004.