EFA Project Space announces Companion, an exhibition of artworks contextualized with the source that influenced their creation. Conceived by Marisa Jahn, who used the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program as her curatorial foundation, Companion culls cultural projects that draw inspiration from history, culture, and science.
Pablo Helguera’s What in the World replicates a popular television show from the 1950’s in which artifacts were presented to a team of archaeologists, artists, and aficionados to decipher. Adapting the show’s theatrical conventions for a You Tube generation, Helguera departs from the objects to focus on the eccentric museum staff, positioning the institution itself as the subject of the ethnographic inquiry. For Companion, Helguera includes videos of the original television show and his remake.
Referring to Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s 1966 cinematic masterpiece entitled Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo), Karina Skvirsky’s Interiors/Exteriors (from Memories of Development Project) is a series of photographs of domestic settings in Guayaquil, Ecuador that depict a story about self-presentation and class distinction.
Tom Bogaert’s installation features a photograph he took while working as a human rights worker in Burundi, Africa. A picturesque photograph of an illuminated window taken from inside a dark room belies a story of horror: as the artist came to learn, the room was a former site where hundreds of Tutsi women and children were burned to their deaths in 1993. The window functions not only as an architectural division between death and those who lived but as an emblem of Bogaert’s role as a mediator and witness. Cui Fei presents an installation of thorns whose assemblage resembles the hash marks used to mark time. Presented as an installation, the hundreds of thorns reference the daily passage of time during the second Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945)—a painful memory rife with atrocity. Several of the works included in Companion involve direct collaborations with professionals outside of the art field. An ongoing collaboration between anthropologist Rachel Lears and artist Saya Woolfalk, Ethnography of No Place is a series of drawings, photography, and video that conflate ritual with exuberant décor, playfully referring to Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s Bathing Babies in Three Cultures (1951). A film screened throughout the duration of the exhibition, Bathing Babies compares the interplay during bathing between mother and child in three different settings: a Sepik River community in New Guinea, an American home, and a mountain village in Bali. Both films by Woolfalk/Lears and Mead/Bateson draw attention to the aesthetics and politics of quotidian rituals.
Yuken Teruya’s Dawn (Maybach) 2008 is a rosewood panel that the artist outfitted for the Maybach luxury line of automobiles with buttons to lock/unlock the door, to raise/lower the window, adjust the side mirrors, and a button shaped like a butterfly whose function or consequence is not stated.
Sarah Oppenheimer, whose installations involve the extraction of familiar architectural elements in order to alter the perception of space, will collaborate with structural engineer Edward Stanley.
The Temporary Museum of Vaseline in Perth Amboy is the latest iteration of J. Blachly and Lytle Shaw’s ongoing research into the artist and poet’s cast of mysterious characters known as the ‘Chadwick family.’ While following up leads about missing Chadwick family relics in the New Jersey city, the duo instead stumbled upon the possibility of naturally occurring Vaseline springs in the region.
There will be Performance-readings by Pablo Helguera & J. Blachly & Lytle Shaw: Wed Feb 10, 6:30-8
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