STILL UTOPIA: ISLANDS
STILL UTOPIA: ISLANDS
Gallery MC, October 24-November 28, 2020
549 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Opening reception: Friday, October 30, 2020
4-8pm, mask and social distancing required
Regular Hours: Monday thru Friday 9 am to 3 pm; and by appointment
Curated by: Gorazd Poposki
Concept: Simonetta Moro & Aga Ousseinov
“Utopia has a big advantage with respect to ideology […] ideology is based on a banal fact: I am right, and if you don’t agree with me, I’ll kill you (20th century ideologies demonstrate this). Utopia is different: I already know that it won’t be feasible, so I’m not going to bother you too much with it, but I am going to suggest that you dream that what I propose may be possible.”
(Philippe Daverio, from a lecture)
Originally scheduled to open in April 2020 and postponed due to Covid-19, Gallery MC is pleased to host the exhibition Still Utopia: Islands, featuring 33 international artists who collaborated on 12 works on paper.
In creating their works, the artists adopted the surrealist technique of the cadavre exquis* (exquisite corpse). In a cadavre exquis, three participants draw the top, middle, and bottom of a whole without knowing what the other parts look like, taking as a starting point the marks of where the preceding drawing ends. But while the Surrealists gathered in a Paris apartment in order to play the game, the artists of today, almost 100 years later, worked from the (safe) distance of their studios and homes while communicating via email, zoom, and text message in pandemic times.
Still-Utopia: Islands intentionally plays on the ambiguity of the word still: as something that’s persisting, but also immobile, as something caught at a “standstill.” Utopia can be anything you think of as connected to place, non-place, other places, dreams, visions for the future, possibilities, impossible projects, or things that used to be thought impossible until they became true. The Islands are the fragments themselves that become archipelagos once they are connected with one another in the loose assemblage of the exquisite corpses. The fragments act as parts of a rebus, as if the artists were trying to put together the pieces of a communication that broke apart long ago. To quote Veronika Sheer, “Pandemic pandemonium—33 locked-in artists (including yours truly and her late mate) communicate—or doubly don’t, which equals do—telepathically.”
Lucy Fradkin, Deirdre Kelly, Elaine Angelopoulos, Aga Ousseinov, Andrew Ginzel, Ron Gorchov, Donald Baechler, Arthur Simms, Nicole Cohen, Veronika Sheer, Rebecca Hackemann, Marcia Ribeiro, Tomas Vu, Jim Osman, Predrag Dimitrijevic, Jill Moser, Brian Miller, Jonathan Allen, Michel Kanter, Jeannie Weissglass, Davide Raffin, Barnaby Fitzgerald, Nils Karsten, Jennifer Nuss, Pietro Finelli, Silvia Lepore, Brian Novatny, Leslie Wayne, Marius Lehene, Simonetta Moro, Don Porcaro, Gorazd Poposki, Roberto Davide Valerio.
*From the Tate Gallery website: Cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse) is a collaborative drawing approach first used by surrealist artists to create bizarre and intuitive drawings. Cadavre exquis is similar to the old parlour game consequences – in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold to conceal what they have written, and pass it on to the next player – but adapted so that parts of the body are drawn instead. It was invented in 1925 in Paris by the surrealists Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. The name ‘cadavre exquis’ was derived from a phrase that resulted when they first played the game, ‘le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine’).