New YorkAutumn Ahn: a tall action is not a height
the willingness of human fantasy and the function of turbulence in a vacuum
“…Which I wish to say it this
There is no beginning to an end
But there is a beginning and an end
– Gertrude Stein
Stanza XXXVIII, Part Five
The Chimney presents a tall action is not a height, the solo exhibition of American artist Autumn Ahn, curated by Anissa Touati. Ahn’s performance operates similarly as a structuralist rite, both symbolic and disturbing.
In her installation, she defies external and internal realities. The artist makes light of the movement of the spirit – the thoughts’ creation and interactions, the sentiments and other psychological states and ultimately of her own body. Ahn walks on water and draws an ephemeral scar by making a mark on time: a visual alphabet.
Ahn’s water projections on the walls and floors of The Chimney build an oneiric and immersive space. She hangs, swings, moves from a rope with her body, the artist builds both a visual and aesthetic tension. The turbulence of the video imagery confronts the cross-narrative of stillness and calm of the slow movement of her body. Dialoguing with the material and its form, Ahn will be balanced with rocks whose weight will match her own, like another identity, a representative object, a ghost-like body. This act of equilibrium will allow Ahn to guide the actions and movements of this counterweight, using intuition as a responsive mechanism. Autumn Ahn becomes the mediator between two realities and the bearer of this collision. Hanging in the middle of the surrounding water, she creates a space where the mind can freely progress, playing with the totemic fantasy of walking on water. She uses this long-standing image inside of the Chimney’s industrial space to bring back together the past and the present.
Trust, immediacy, vulnerability between the artist and the viewers are instantly established. Creating her moves with her perceptual impressions, only responding to the water, the waves, her weights, and their shadows, Ahn conveys a sense of wonder. The artist finds a new way to express herself through her body and uses it to create a new language, knowing that our words and the way we use them can change and control our identity while expressing so much about culture. Inspired by Gertrude Stein, especially Tenders Buttons’ chapter « Rooms », she twists this language, helped by repetition and rhythm. Ahn uses this signage as a dancing body to express inner movement and her performance-based practice to express a universal dialect that interrogates and remodels today’s frontier. She transcends the artistic space of the Chimney to open a new world and to create a global territory.
Autumn Ahn (b. 1986, Philadelphia, USA) completed a BFA in Oil Painting, Art History and Printmaking from Boston University. Her recent exhibitions include: Cine Tonalá for Fería ARTBO (Bogota Art Fair), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Centre National d’Art Contemporain-Grenoble; Istanbul Embassy, WRONG Biennale; Contemporary Istanbul; Maison du Portugal, Cité Universitaire, Paris; Art Basel, Miami for AIDS Action Committee; Montserrat College of Art & Design, and upcoming solo exhibition at The Chimney in Brooklyn, NY.
Anissa Touati is an independant curator based in France, USA and Mexico. She works closely with Marc Olivier-Wahler, Chalet Society’s co-director in Paris. Touati has realized numerous exhibitions in unusual places from public spaces, disused buildings to outdoor sites. She tries to forge links and interactions between artists and the exhibition space. For her projects “Luna Park” and “Triangle Walks” in Art Basel (Miami), “Form Scratch” in Art Basel (Basel) and “Yodeling Circus” at the Venice Biennale, Anissa Touati has developed a reflection on the institutional system. Impregnated by the transcultural studies and the New Institutionalism, she questions the established roles and the archetypes existing inside the exhibition space. Touati also independently curated gallery exhibitions such as “¿Cómo te voy a olvidar? ” at Galerie Perrotin (Paris) and” The Queen falls “at Galería OMR (Mexico City).Image credit: The Chimney NYC