Located directly across the street from Livestream Public, the venue plays on the rawness of its industrial architecture. All works are commissioned to interact with the space, creating immersive environments and interactions with the viewers. In addition to its permanent exhibition space, The Chimney is developing offsite installations and exhibitions in the US, France and Colombia.
INCANTATIONS: THE MODERN CAVE
JULIETTE DUMAS, ANDREW ERDOS, DYLAN GAUTHIER, RIITTA IKONEN, GWENDOLYN KERBER, AARON TAYLOR KUFFNER
JUNE 17 - JULY 17, 2016
OPENING FRIDAY, JUNE 17th, 6:30pm-10pm
Curated by Clara Darrason & Jennifer Houdrouge
The Chimney NYC is pleased to present Incantations: The Modern Cave, a group exhibition exploring the trace: human, natural or industrial. The ones left by our species as a testimony of our passage on earth, those created by artists sharing their perspective on the world, and others oscillating between natural and man-made, organic and manufactured. The exhibition explores the primal desire of contemporary artists to create in this geological era commonly referred as the age of the Anthropocene.
The red industrial bricks, blocked cemented windows, metal beams and condemned chimney make of The Chimney a Modern cave. Six artists working across various mediums have left their own trace. Incantations: The Modern Cave both reveals and resolves the inherent conflict of an increasing industrial landscape in which nature strives to survive.
Juliette Dumas directly investigates the interrelationship between the natural and human realm. In her Frozen Plates series, she pours wheat paste, ink and varnish on metal plates on days where temperature drops. Collaborating with the cold, Dumas captures the invisible marks of its ghostly presence and reveals the unseen to the eye. Her work questions environmental degradation and humans’ attempt to control it.
Andrew Erdos glass sculpture comes together to form spiking mountaintops that represent his investigation of the complex relationship between humankind and its environment. Inspired by Shiprock, the sacred mountain in the Navajo Nation, Erdos plans to build a monumental version ofthe piece which will be installed in the desert with Shiprock as its background. A time based piece, viewers will watch the sculpture gradually wear away to the natural forces of wind, water and erosion over years, either experiencing it in person or watching the process as it is streamed live from multiple cameras placed in its surroundings.
Riitta Ikonen’s work threads memory, myth, imagination and a utopian view of the natural world. As expressed by Robert Smithson in “A Sedimentation of the Mind”, Ikonen explores “abstract geology”, that is the geography of the mind through performance, sculptures, wearable objects, and videos. With growing vegetation colonizing the walls of the space, Ikonen reconcilesthe raw architecture of The Chimney with nature.
In her paintings, Gwendolyn Kerber attempts to capture the ever-changing nature of landscape in an ecology of color and marks. While exploring the spatial, philosophical and abstract qualities of natural environments she reveals the uttermost beauty of both paint and nature. Her oil paintings on boards and scraps on canvas appear to hover on the walls of The Chimney like small apparitions.
Over a period of three months, Dylan Gauthier produced a series of public boat trips through urban space on neighboring Newtown Creek. During those excursions, he invited artists, writers and scholars working on ecological themes to explore the edges and surface of the creek while interviewing them on their practice and the role of the artist in the Anthropocene. For theexhibition, Gauthier will bring the creek into the Chimney as sound and data, including as a sound piece compositing some of these interviews with live and field recorded sounds. These will be played back to the creek itself through custom fabricated underwater speakers.
With four Single Tone Mindfulness Sculptures installed in the Chimney's windows, Aaron Taylor Kuffner turns an Indonesian object of antiquity, the gong, into robotic sound producing sculptures, and re-contextualizes the archaic ritual tradition to envelop the audience. Kuffner's work exposes the viewers to the rich and profound nature of musical resonance and its effect onthe body and the psyche. The Sonic Sculpture's contrasting materials and mechanisms tell us a story of globalization and modernization.
Ultimately, the works presented in Incantations: The Modern Cave are tied by what Georges Bataille refers as a form of transcendental experience explored by artists in their creation process: “to create a sensible reality whereby the ordinary world is modified in response to the desire forthe extraordinary, for the marvelous.”