Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, Poland
7 June 2018
Symptomatic eruptions of the avant garde brings together a selection of video works by artists based in the United States that conceptually and formally question the canons of representation. Using various strategies within a moving image these four women artists examine established constructs of meaning within social, political and historical structures. Through questioning of the present and displacement of the past, the works deconstruct representation and its structural boundaries.
Martine Syms’s video, Notes on Gesture, points to specific gestures that might be assumed as emblematic of black women’s body language, yet Syms deconstructs and restructures by revisiting gestures, words and behavior that are associated with black femininity. In, Is it Opera or is it Something Political, Kim Schoen presents a video portrait of a female actor instructed to speak in non-sense for 7 minutes straight as at once hilarious and captivating work that operates as a transgressive act of rupture and provocation in the symbolic language. A provocative act of absurdity continues to play out in Mary Reid and Patrick Kelley’s video spectacle, This is Offal, in which the artists devised a distinctive rhetoric that inspire socio-political concerns around issues of female (in)visibility in art and historical discourses. In It’s Cool, I’m Good, Stanya Kahn uses wit, humor and tropes from Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection to claim a stage for resistance to capitalist systems of order by a way of placing disorientation and structural incoherence that disrupts the static and the familiar of everyday.