Natalie Ball, Takming Chuang, Niloufar Emamifar, LaMont Hamilton, Ariel René Jackson, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, Aliza Shvarts, Rosa Sijben and David Bernstein, Sara Stern, Kenneth Tam, and Kiyan Williams
In Practice: Other Objects presents new work by eleven artists and artist teams that probes the slippages and interplay between objecthood and personhood.
rom personal belongings to material evidence, sites of memory, and revisionist fantasies, the artists in Other Objects highlight curious and ecstatic moments in which a body becomes a thing or a thing stands in for a body.
The works in the exhibition address the capacity for objects — personal, collective, ambiguous, or arbitrary — to assume the body’s agency to testify about experience, recollect the past, mediate intimacy, and move politically. Rather than understanding the body as a stable figure or coherent whole, Other Objects proposes the body, and therefore the person, as a fluid and fragmentary medium — one materially contingent upon the objects with which it shares space.
Recurring throughout the artists’ works is a concern for how the oscillation between body and thing demands a revised understanding of both. The works in Other Objects attend to other categories of objects, and objects of the Other, which trouble the limits of personhood and reveal our dependence on objects to enact collectivity, forge intimacy, challenge the visual, and spur new political imaginaries. While seemingly passive, inanimate, and silent, objects stir with the ability to agitate, speak, remember, and rebel. They serve as surrogates for bodies denied social agency and as talismans for playful and radical reimaginings of the present.
The exhibition features newly commissioned works by: Natalie Ball, Takming Chuang, Niloufar Emamifar, LaMont Hamilton, Ariel René Jackson, Katherine Simóne Reynolds, Aliza Shvarts, Rosa Sijben and David Bernstein, Sara Stern, Kenneth Tam, and Kiyan Williams and is curated by Gee Wesley, SculptureCenter’s 2019 In Practice Curatorial Fellow.
Aliza Shvarts conducts a comparative analysis on different evidence collection kits used across the United States, engaging clinical and legal modes of testimony and the ways in which the human capacity to speak and be heard is gendered. Takming Chuang’s unfired and folded clay sculptures stage the complex ways that value is assigned to bodies and objects as they age. Wrapped in a tight film of plastic to retain a prolonged supple state, Chuang’s works discolor, wrinkle, vein, and crack over time to assume the physicality of human flesh.
LaMont Hamilton’s multimedia installation comprising dozens of feathers questions how synesthetic experience can enable moments of collective being and move sculpture away from an ableist supremacy of the visual to a bodily experience of feeling. A video installation by Sara Stern charts connections between the industrial and the organic, staging interactions between industrial architecture and historical objects that speak and perform the past while inventing alternate realities. Similarly, Niloufar Emamifar broaches the experiential qualities of the built environment and how physical places hold records of daily life.
A video and installation work by Kenneth Tam engages the spaces and rituals that constitute heteronormative male behavior. In Tam’s video, the high school prom becomes a vehicle to examine the role of social tradition in forming male identity and the physical trappings that enable sites of male homosocial belonging. Video, photography, and mixed media sculptures by Katherine Simóne Reynolds explore the presentability politics that inspire and conceal Black women’s labor in the areas of personal glamour and domestic work.
A video installation by Ariel René Jackson comprising suspended soil spheres charts how land and soil serve as markers of both the material remnants of systemic racism and the artist’s family history. Work by Kiyan Williams similarly engages earth as a material and metaphor linked to Blackness, diaspora, and transgressive identity by resurfacing the ritual practice of geophagy, or consuming dirt, among enslaved West Africans in the Americas.
Natalie Ball deploys the paraphernalia and aesthetics of “playing dolls” as the starting point for a site-responsive installation that turns to playful reenactment to refuse and recast mainstream constructions of Indigeneity. A collaborative project by Rosa Sijben and David Bernstein prompts visitors to temporarily exchange an object of value for one of several amorphous objects designed and constructed by the pair. By welcoming visitors to navigate the exhibition with this object, Sijben and Bernstein invite a consideration of how haptic engagements with material affect and mediate our experience of space.
About In Practice
The In Practice open call program supports emerging artists and curators in creating new work for exhibition at SculptureCenter. Since 2003, In Practice has supported nearly 200 emerging artists with the essential resources of space, funding, time, and administrative support to help turn their ideas into reality. Exemplifying the spirit of SculptureCenter’s mission, In Practice provides new ways to discover the most innovative artwork, foster experimentation, and give participants the opportunity to develop and present work in what is often their first institutional exhibition in New York City.
Past In Practice participants include: Korakrit Arunanondchai, Fia Backström, A.K. Burns, Crystal Z Campbell, Aleksandra Domanović Brendan Fernandes, Raque Ford, Jules Gimbrone, Samara Golden, Ellen Harvey, Madeline Hollander, Elizabeth Jaeger, Meredith James, Baseera Khan, Simone Leigh, Molly Lowe, Justin Matherly, Virginia Overton, Essex Olivares, Marlo Pascual, Sean Raspet, Rachel Rose, Xaviera Simmons, Josh Smith, Valerie Snobeck, Agathe Snow, Marianne Vitale, and Jon Wang, among many others.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)