The Community Centre & Garden
05.03. — 10.04.2022
“Where the sky appears to meet the earth at the horizon to form a cosmic cross
Activity carried out in that exact center line has power to affect many versions of reality”
The exhibition RUN 14 FIELD of existence marks a new departure in Susan Cianciolo’s oeuvre, forming a total body of work. New works take the form of a collage, both on a conceptual and physical level, through constant practice of de- and re-construction, stemming from previously assembled works and references. The show forges a close connection between two physical spaces: the gallery space at 9 rue Méhul is a space of repose, one for rest and healing, while the garden at 13 rue Méhul is conceived as a living space, thus following the Japanese notions of bringing together outdoor and indoor areas. Several tapestry pieces are scattered around the gallery space, not hung on the walls but resting on various found supports: forming dormant, laying and expecting sculptural constellations.
The work with layers and collage is not visible only in physical objects made by the artist but also within the dynamic of collaboration, in this case, both with performers and musicians. During the opening performance, the tapestries transform into garments when a group of performers, all of the artists, The Community’s friends and collaborators, turn them into costumes of protection and affect. Forming a symbolic and meditative circle, the performers sit in silence, carrying tapestries on their shoulders. Developed and assembled together by pieces of duck tape, paper, fabric and adorned by drawings and paint, the incorporation of textiles and patchwork has always been present in Cianciolo’s language and sensibility: seemingly unfinished and raw, each element is a carefully thought out detail in these works. The meditative performance sounds performed by Anenon and Brian William Rogers - the polyphony and the extreme simplicity of tenor saxophone and guitar - form tones of sound providing healing and reflective effects. The overlapping layers form new constellations, going back to Cianciolo’s early career in the 1990s when the artist was working with live music.
The gallery space also houses a life-size kit: upon entering this shelter, the viewer is invited to remove the shoes and rest on the carefully arranged sleeping bag tapestry. Inside, four video works by Cianciolo are on view: Diadal (1997), Less Than Zero (1999), Love Life (2001), and When I Saw Your Frist Eye I Love You (2016). A kit, a signature oeuvre of Cianciolo since the beginning of the 2000s, is an archival set, usually taking the form of a cardboard box and featuring fragments from her work and life and destined as a care package.
Eight outdoor sculptural pieces are carefully laid and thought out in the garden space: here again, the pieces and their details look distantly familiar. They are disassembled and assembled again from various elements and adorned by different motifs, colours, and patches. These sculptures have endured the NYC upstate winter, its snowstorms and rainfalls, sun and wind, and transforming throughout the months, then to be found sprinkled in the garden space of The Community. The pieces that look like a handful of objets trouvés are adorned by certain magic: they capture one’s attention, thus uplifting them from their quotidian camouflage towards something enchanting and whimsical whilst providing a soothing effect.
The universe of Susan Cianciolo is manifold: having several entrances, it unfolds through a variety of mediums and supports, personal memories and archives that are all elements of a singular artistic body of work. It is a world made of collages and healing, where past experiences and future stories are woven into layers of affect and craft. The elements forming the artist’s practice happen over large spans of time and contain constant references to both cultural and social histories and the artist’s past. In Cianciolo’s practice, the simplicity of gesture is always omnipresent, through which everything finds its exact place. Here, something either feels right, or it does not. It can be about a song, a nest in the forest, a circle with friends, the eye meeting the horizon - all coming together as a unity.
31. — 31.03.2022