Vox Populi

December 2, 2010

December 3, 2010 – January 30, 2011

319 N 11th Street, Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107


Performance & Screening Events:

Friday, December 3
6-11 pm, Opening Reception
6 pm, Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin performance
7 pm, Xavier Cha performance
9 pm, Zackary Drucker performance
ongoing, Taisha Paggett performance

Saturday, January 29
6:30 pm, Gallery talk with Malik Gaines
8 pm, Akosua Adoma Owusu screening
Alexandro Segade performance
Adam Pendelton performance
Dynasty Handbag (Jibz Cameron) screening

Bringing together the works of 19 diverse artists, Quadruple-Consciousness explores various tactics for representing the complex, contradictory legacies of cultural difference we bring to this contemporary moment. The title itself, a hyperbolic multiplication of W.E.B. Du Bois’ idea of Double-Consciousness, plays within the fractures of post-modern experience, transforming its alienated gaps into locations for possible expression. Through fictitious portraits, play acting, historiographic collages and alternate histories, these artists seek potential liberties within the uncertainty of irreconcilable identities.

Organized into two live events, performances will animate the exhibition’s premise with a variety of interventions. Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin presnt a performance event that assembles cultural and material strands to reflect a history of the AIDS crisis, using the film Philadelphia as a starting image. Xavier Cha has choreographed an interaction between a dancer and a cameraman that plays in the space between live and mediated representations. Zackary Drucker uses the genre of the drag show to ask spectators “who is laughing at whom?” when gender is spectacularized. Dynasty Handbag (Jibz Cameron) uses the format of the one-woman show to frame her outrageous character, a smartly grotesque embodiment of degraded neurosis. Alexandro Segade uses acting techniques to theatricalize a speculative fiction set in a gay future, reflecting contemporary political debates around participation and exclusion. The performance resonates with Segade’s installation, which uses projected drawings of domestic life to add nuance to the public rhetoric around the administration of rights. Taisha Paggett will enact a critical dance performance that leaves a haunting trace in the gallery space. Adam Pendleton will collaborate with musicians on an original composition to be performed live. Pendleton’s work will also be reflected in a large print of his bold BLACK DADA manifesto.

Video works will bring a variety of moving images to the conversation. Wu Ingrid Tsang’s video piece adapts his documentary feature, depicting the scene of an historic Latino transgender bar, and the complicated mix of cultures that partied there together. Filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu presents a lively meditation on West African cloth, finding spectacular differences among familiar patterns. Owusu’s short film Me Broni Ba will also be screened. Nzuji de Magalhães will present a video adapted from a live performance; four colorful hand-painted keyboards are played backwards by four players, as they execute a four-part composition that attempts to reflect an experience of daily life. Vishal Jugdeo offers a surreal televised world where staged interactions grow increasingly awkward and conventional programming gives way to disjoined lapses. Additional videos by Cameron, Drucker, and Segade will complement and complicate their live performances. Cameron performs a song using only her hands, Drucker and her collaborator enact both positive and negative fantasies of transgender life, and Segade offers a text and music video that imagines a radical outlaw boy-band.

Sculptures by Sherin Guirguis and Nicolau Vergueiro complicate modernist art historical concerns with beautiful objects that are culturally loaded. Guirguis’ wooden cloud of smoke that replicates an Islamic pattern and Verguiero’s tropicalist pyramid both reflect the mobility of an immigrant experience that applies polyvalent content to recognizable forms. Painters Mark Flores, Meleko Mokgosi, and Kianja Strobert each challenge form with their innovations. Flores’ four portraits of a classical historical figure deconstruct a long history of cultural travesty; Mokgosi’s text works critique the very modes of exhibition through which African cultures are rendered legible in the western context; and Strobert’s neon shards radically disperse the centralizing narrative of painting, leaving a trail on the gallery floor. Wardell Milan uses collage to insert brown, masculine flesh into historic botanical prints, mixing modes of naturalist knowledge with natural notions of desire, while photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya also uses elements of collage to conflate the image of a young Arab man with a photograph of the singer Nina Simone in Arabesque attire, outlining a circulation of images that have led to productively mixed up identifications.

Quadruple-Consciousness has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative.

*Image above:
Courtesy of the artist.

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Vox Populi
December 2, 2010

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