Michal Martychowiec: The Nor’easter Blows
October 19 – November 3, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, October 19, 6-9 p.m.
Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian: Temporary Fields
November 9 – December 1, 2018
Re-opening reception: Friday, November 9, 6-9 p.m.
Retake, reply, review, respond, remember, resist, return, record, recycle…Re- as a Latin prefix means again, again and again, repetition, opposition, backward, withdrawal.
Re: as a two-volume exhibition revisits history, material history, art history, collective memory, personal remembrance, moments of serendipity, fragments rediscovered…
Re: first opens with The Nor’easter Blows on October 19, and then Re-opens with Temporary Fields on November 9.Re: is curated in collaboration with Jacob Zhicheng Zhang and supported in part by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. This exhibition accompanies Reminiscing/Reinventing, a SAIC-sponsored graduate symposium on nostalgia and media scheduled to take place on October 26, 2018.
Michal Martychowiec: The Nor’easter Blows
The Northeaster blows
Among all the winds the one
I love the best, because it portends
A fiery spirit and a good journey to sailors
-- Remembrance, Friedrich Hölderlin
Michal Martychowiec once pointed out the conceptual duality of the Northeaster, which is here colloquially termed the Nor’easter and transposed to the American context. The natural phenomenon forebodes an impending harsh weather as well as an uplifting sentiment, but the Romanticist conception of it tactfully ignores potential contradictions in favor of sublimating the mood. At last, the disastrous aspect of the natural phenomenon survives conceptually, albeit rendered curiously implicit.
The Nor’easter Blows features Martychowiec’s three works, The incredulity of Saint Thomas (2016), The shrine to summon the souls(2013), and In memory (2013). Sourcing tangible materials from world history, personal memories, and art historical myths, Martychowiec’s art wittily reflects on private/public events and traumas while not forgetting to poke fun at his own act of appropriation.
Michal Martychowiec (b. 1987) creates conceptual series of photographs, films, drawings, neons, objects, mixed media installations, and environments. He is a visiting lecturer at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. Martychowiec’s oeuvre consists of mixed media practice designed in larger series. It is thus always developed hermeneutically around an expanded topic. A new field of his invention is recreation of avatars and other personas.
Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian: Temporary Fields
In 2013, when Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian began making the film Accession, they came across a small box of letters while visiting a seed company in Virginia, in which each letter accompanies a tiny envelope of seeds. This marked the beginning of their collecting family histories, stories of particular varieties and mundane details of everyday life. Not knowing where the next letter would take them, they used 16mm to film at unexpected addresses. The film Accession inquiries about the idea of loss central to the practices of ethnographic studies, documentary, preservation of specimens and the archive. Archives, like ethnographic projects, are premised on a view of the cultures and customs they document on the brink of disappearance. The knowledge of seed keeping manifests itself through the repetition of routine gesture that maintains the plant from season to season. This knowledge has not, and ultimately cannot, be preserved in an archive. It is maintained through practice.
Temporary Fields frames the film Accession in an exhibition installation, treating the gallery site as a temporary archive and point of confluence for exchanged seeds, letters and ephemera. In Temporary Fields, different historical, personal, and collective temporalities are brought together to make new relationships possible.
Tamer Hassan and Armand Yervant Tufenkian have collaborated since 2008 and have shown their work in festivals, galleries and cinemas internationally. Tamer studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives in Chicago. Armand studied philosophy, poetics, and filmmaking at Duke University and lives in Los Angeles where he is completing an MFA at CalArts.
Jacob Zhicheng Zhang calls Nanjing, China home and lives in Chicago. He received a BA in Art History and Chemistry from Colby College. After working in art conservation, Zhang is pursuing a MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Zhang is interested in varied areas such as postcolonial, post-socialist studies, transnational histories/things/art/subjects, particularly those filtered through "Asia," and queer performance and photography.
August 31 - September 23
Opening Reception: Friday August 31 6-9 p.m.
“Of silver the slender knives, the delicate forks; of silver the salvers with silver trees chased in the silver of the hollows for collecting the gravy of roasts; of silver the triple-tiered fruit trays of three round dishes crowned by silver pomegranates; of silver the wine flagons hammered by craftsmen in silver; of silver the fish platters, a porgy of silver lying plumply on a seaweed lattice; of silver the saltcellars, of silver the nutcrackers, of silver the goblets, of silver the teaspoons engraved with initials...All these were being borne gradually, without haste -- carefully, so that silver should not bump against silver -- toward the glum, waiting penumbras of wooden cases, of slatted crates, of chest with stout locks, overseen by the master in his dressing gown, who made the silver ring from time to time when he urinated with stately stream, copious and percussive, well aimed into a silver chamber pot, the bottom decorated with a roguish silver eye soon blind by the foam which, reflecting the silver so intensely, ultimately seemed silvered itself...”
-- Concert Baroque, Alejo Carpentier
Alejo Carpentier, one of the most influential writers in Latin American literature, frames the opening passage of his well-known 1974 novel Concert Baroque in silver. The caricaturist description of excessive silverware not only conducted a cacophony of silver sound, but also alluded to the wealth of the New World – in particular, Mexico – due to silver mining. Mexico remains to be one of the world’s largest silver producers.
Borrowing the title of the novel, this solo exhibition features Mexican artist and filmmaker Adela Goldbard (b. 1979) and centers around her video that shares the same name. Concert Baroque is a two-channel video that documents mining activities at the Thornton Quarry, an aggregate quarry in South Illinois that used to supply limestone in the early 20th century for some of Chicago’s iconic architectures. Haunted by the ghostly cavity caused by sand mining in the mountain behind her childhood house in Mexico, Goldbard’s interest in issues related to mining is not only a visceral one but also deeply rooted in her belief that art is a form of resistance.
In this exhibition, Goldbard measures the ecological impact of mining and its kinship to capitalism through visual and auditory analogies. The incredible resemblance between the shape of the abandoned trading pit at the Chicago Board of Trade Building and that of the open-pit copper mine [NN: where?] led the artist to reflect the connection between extraction and transaction. Chicago as one of the largest and most diverse market for commodity trading is constantly converting back-and-forth resources and numbers, putting a price tag on every single ounce of mineral excavated from the ground. But how much does a gargantuan scar left on the surface of the earth cost? As the earth sinks, profits rise. The groans of heavy machinery, the clatters of rocks and stones, the rattling of gravels, the pounding at the wrecking yards...all these sounds unite and start to compose a very different baroque concert.
a video installation by Sophie Leddick
With a performance featuring Kyra Lehman and sound artist Ken Urbina July 13-29, 2018 Opening Reception: Friday, July 13, 6-9PM
If we remain at the heart of the image under consideration, we have the impression that, by staying in the motionlessness of its shell, the creature is preparing temporal explosions, not to say whirlwinds, of being.
––Gaston Bachelard, “Shells,” from The Poetics of Space
I started collecting shell memorabilia this last year, without knowing why. Maybe I am fascinated by their geometrical patterns. Golden mean, spirals, repetition, symmetry...the process of their formation is a phenomenon of nature, one that is beyond my imagination. Shells are found in burial grounds. There is an allegory of ground up shells on the beaches of Sicily giving birth to new shellfish – the ocean counterpart of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. They are blueprints for living beings. The vulnerable soul residing in the body is like the squishy animal living inside the shell.
The shell is a symbol of sound. I have feared the sound of my voice since childhood. Retreating into my body and being quiet is how I reacted to the intensity of the world. I still feel safe in silence. In silence I contemplate death, endings, the structure of love and how it is related to your heart. Your actual, physical heart. Like hearts, shells have chambers. Bachelard speaks about the Lithocardites dreamed up by J. B. Robinet. Lithocardites are heart shells, “rough drafts of a heart that will one day beat.”
9 years ago, my doctor discovered that I have a benign heart murmur through echocardiogram. Echo-cardio-gram. Echo of the heartbeat. In Greek mythology Echo gets punished by a jealous wife and loses her ability to speak; she can only repeat the last phrase of what she hears. Echo falls in love with Narcissus but is rejected by him, and she lives out the rest of her life in the solitude of the hilly earth contemplating her mortality. I imagine Echo laying in the dimple of a glen. She might have brought her hand to her heart and felt its beat under her skin and her rib bones, which sometimes feels paper thin. Perhaps the body should start to evolve so that the heart is protected a bit more. Perhaps I needed a dress of armor, one that allowed the heart to be placed into the body, covered, locked in place, and protected.
There is violence in emergence. The act of leaving a shell is painful and courageous. The act of utterance is imperative. So, why must we speak?
We must speak on behalf of our heart.
Sophie Leddick is a multi-media artist working in performance, film/video, and writing. The origins of her practice are rooted in classical ballet. Framed by the human condition, through language (writing) and movement (choreography) her work formally explores relationships between people, the inner self (the profundity of being and becoming), sound and the inadequacy of language for conditions like, loss, love, and grief, inner and exterior space (confinement, liminality), and physicalized metaphor. She earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.