August 24, 2011 - Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Stephanie Nava and barely there
August 24, 2011

Stephanie Nava and barely there

Left: Stéphanie Nava, “Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory),” 2009. Exhibition view at the Centre d’Art Passerelle, Brest. © Stéphanie Nava.
Right: Luis Camnitzer, “All those who don’t know how to read English are stupid.,” 2009. Installation view in “barely there” (part one) at MOCAD. Photo by Corine Vermeulen.

Stéphanie Nava: Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory)
barely there (part two)
September 16-December 30, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
4454 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

MOCAD is thrilled to announce its presentation of French artist Stéphanie Nava’s first solo exhibition in the United States; on view concurrently with barely there (part two), a group exhibition in two parts that explores issues of immateriality, presence, absence, performance and the performative. The fall exhibitions are curated by Luis Croquer, Director and Chief Curator, and organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory) is a work in progress, developed by artist Stéphanie Nava. The installation is based on the specifications and history of English allotments, or subsistence gardens. Started in London in 2005 as part of the Institut Français Villa Médicis Hors les murs residency program, the project evolved over time and holds at its core issues revolving around the United Kingdom and United States government programs encouraging citizens to “grow your own” [food] during the Second World War, as a system of offsetting produce shortages.

The installation addresses questions of representation in drawing: namely the relationship between plane and perspective, issues around the notion of skill, as well as the importance of the line as constructor of space both in two and three dimensions. Nava draws from multiple genealogies of drawing, referencing archival, botanical, architectural and technical forms of the discipline all at once. The mixed media installation considers the role of the allotment, as a site of political, economic and military strategy; community relationships and of course, of gardening and urban farming through a narrative form that draws from areas of expertise such as urban planning and tourism.

Comprised of over a hundred drawings on paper and other objects, the installation is modular and of variable dimensions and evolves each time it is presented, potentially covering an area of nearly 2,700 square feet. Stéphanie Nava’s project critically examines the Victory Garden as a point of departure for urban greening movements in contemporary society, but also reflects incisively on issues of history, community and the practice of art itself.

barely there (both parts one and two) considers the ability of art to engage broad and often intangible concepts by generating a series of connections rather than functioning as a prescribed whole. The exhibition includes a multigenerational group of artists and artworks produced in the span of over eighty years, from the late 1920s to the present.

The first installment of the exhibition, presented this summer, dealt with the mind, touching on abstract concepts such as death, love, identity, imagination, knowledge and the unintelligible—many of them a constant fascination to artists over the centuries. The second part features work that focuses on the body as a generator of knowledge, memory and as an instigator of social, political and spiritual change.

The artworks in barely there are ephemeral, immaterial and/or transparent—as the title suggests—and exist in a permanent state of contingency without trying to generate true or false answers, focusing instead on the immense and open-ended possibility of art to pose large questions but also to be meaningful rather than decipherable.

The artists in the two part exhibition are Francis Alÿs, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Luis Camnitzer, Frank Capra, Jason Dodge, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Félix Gonzalez-Torres, Pablo Helguera, Christoph Keller, Kimsooja, Mark Lombardi, Lee Lozano, Christian Marclay, Rivane & Sergio Neuenschwander, Max Ophüls, Wilfredo Prieto, Yvonne Rainer, Paul Ramirez-Jonas, Ranjani Shettar, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Nicolás García Uriburu, Franz Erhard Walther, Adolf Wölfli and Francesca Woodman.

Major support for Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory) is provided by The Graham Foundation For Advanced Studies In The Fine Arts, the Maison Française, The Cultural Services of The French Embassy and the Institut Français. Additional support is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Support for barely there (part two) is generously provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is located at 4454 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, and is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free unless otherwise indicated. For more information, please visit

For press inquiries, please contact Carlie Dennis at 313-832-6622 or

Stephanie Nava and barely there
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
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