Active-Intermission-Composite-Artifact (AICA) includes sculpture, video, and photography from Lily Cox-Richard, Vesna Pavlović, Marina Pinsky and Jonathan Boutefeu. An intermission is an active pause in which the narrative presented can be examined and the audience can contemplate what is to come based on what has already played out. It is an event that contains multiple trajectories and the possibility to construct new narrative arcs beyond the confines of the initial story. This exhibition is an extended intermission. Shattered, re-composed and unbridled rearrangement of contexts and legacies are prevalent in the work and practices of the artists in AICA. Similarly, many contemporary art institutions are confronting the crumbling conventions upon which they were built and how recent crises will impact their futures. Instead of defining a future of how or should art be exhibited, contextualized, and historicized what we can learn from these artists by asking: Upon what platforms are politics conveyed in exhibition of art and artifacts? Within what buildings? Maintained by what cultural constructs? It is from this pause and consideration we can approach the next act.
Pavlović’s photographic series “Collection/Kolekcija” examines the power dynamics deployed through the exhibition of art collections in two buildings that represent political and economic regimes—specifically the Palace of Federation, the former executive branch building of Yugoslavia, in Belgrade and the former Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City. This new installation of photographs and 35mm slide projections document not only the artworks in the respective collections but the physical, interior context within which they existed and circulated. Through this framework, the images diagram the intended function of these art collections in the post-WWII era where anti-Stalinist, socialism of Yugoslavia and capitalism of the United States were extolled. JPMorgan Chase explains in its collection’s mission, “Art at Work reflects and aligns with the firm’s 21st-century business principles and priorities: diversity, innovation, technology, sustainability, creativity, and excellence.” And the Tito administration saw the collection as a driver against fascism. The collections are seen in states of suspension, without viewers, and in many ways are indicative of the indecisive moments that occur in the movement between different political administrations and ideologies.
In AICA Cox-Richard’s work draws from her ongoing interaction with materials that undergird canonical art and cultural histories. Her concrete sculptures, reminiscent of fractured sidewalks, are made of aggregate materials often collected from sites of their intended exhibition. And documentation-oriented and found objects like archival images and a semi-truck rear view mirror quietly trace personal journeys, while prominently cultivating new versions of common artistic narratives. Quasi-artifacts are points of departure like classical statues of female bodies in museum education departments to the site preservation of events considered part of Land Art and its presumed authors. Through her own act of material erosion and institutional excavation, she exposes the overlooked composite experiences that make up cultural legacies—their material baggage. Recasting dominant, gendered narratives within art and material histories, Cox-Richard unveils how institutional value systems are often perpetuated by investment in consistency in art history over care, respect, credit, and the sharing of resources.
Marina Pinsky and Jonathan Boutefeu
Pinsky and Boutefeu’s performance was conceived at the former home and studio of Constantin Meunier—now the Musée Meunier, dedicated to the exhibition of his work. A prominent Belgian social realist artist, Meunier, to contested reception, sought to depict the lives of laborers, industrialization, and the heroism of peoples in plight in the early 20th century. Within this institutional setting Pinsky and Boutefeu question the intention of how contemporary labor and leisure are presented, and mine the ways in which fashionable subcultures grow from the varying levels of class mobility. In the performance, skilled skaters donned uniforms made of composite fabrics and embroidery resembling UHaul packing blankets, and roller skates constructed from iconic seat fabrics from the Brussels tram system and skated their way through the museum and a public skatepark. The work points to the shift from public transportation as capitalist infrastructure to the ride-share world of neoliberalism. Through conflating the inadequate hierarchical categories of art and fashion they undo conventional institutional attempts to compress social narratives into singular moments. Axel Van Hoof and Cecile Gentili designed the roller skates, and Natacha Della Mese and the Textile Lab in Tilburg collaborated on the uniforms. The roller skaters were Charlotte Bucaile and James Convent.