June 21, 2014 - Culturgest - Helen Mirra
June 21, 2014

Helen Mirra

Helen Mirra, Map of parallel 46° N at a scale of one inch to one degree longitude, 2000. Watercolor on cotton, 1.6 x 914.4 cm. Collection Ann and Marshall Webb, Toronto.

Helen Mirra
Edge Habitat

Until September 14, 2014

Rua Arco do Cego, 50
1000-300 Lisbon

T +351 21 790 51 55


Curator: Miguel Wandschneider

The term “edge habitat” refers to the border area where two adjacent ecological systems meet, where there is greater biodiversity and denser populations of various species of animals and plants. Adopted by Helen Mirra (b. 1970) as the title for this exhibition and for a recently published book surveying her practice in the 15-year span 1995–2009 (Edge Habitat Materials, Chicago: WhiteWalls, 2014), this expression is highly suggestive about an unbound artistic practice that resists obvious categorisation whilst having a consistent logic and a geographical vernacular, indicating a view of the world as a place where different subjects and objects cohabit and influence one another.

This exhibition brings together a genealogy of works materialised in the form of bands of cotton fabric, 16 millimetres high and of varying lengths, and dyed in a conspicuously limited range of monochromatic colours. Writing is in the core of many of these works; Mirra has frequently used these lines as a support for the typing of text. Among those, including the ones that relate to a specific philosophical essay or literary work and which have appropriated the convention of the index, we find ourselves confronted with eccentric uses of language. One is variously reminded of concrete poetry, haiku, or minimalist music. Here and there, the exhibition also incorporates drawings, paintings, two sculptures, a sound piece, and a book, as neighbours to the line works.

The work evidences a highly economical use of resources, procedures and formal solutions—frugality is an appropriate term in this case. As our relationship with Helen Mirra’s work deepens, a way of seeing the condition and the experience of the subject in the world is gradually unveiled: a correlative experience that is rooted in such simple mechanics as sanding wood, folding a blanket, rowing a boat, or walking.

In parallel to the exhibition Edge Habitat, in Lisbon, Culturgest Porto presents:

Helen Mirra
Edge Habitat – Appendix Library
Until September 13, 2014

Culturgest Porto
Edifício Caixa Geral de Depósitos
Avenida dos Aliados, 104
4000-065 Porto

T + 351 22 209 81 16


Helen Mirra at Culturgest, Lisbon
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