The Language In Common

The Language In Common

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University

View of The Language in Common, Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, 2021. Photo: Charles Benton.

October 5, 2021
The Language In Common
Exhibition, events, and online programming
September 14–December 12, 2021
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University
Center for the Arts
283 Washington Terrace
Middletown, CT 06459-0442
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–5pm

T +1 860 685 3355

The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is pleased to reopen to the public for the Fall exhibition, The Language in Common.  This exhibition presents artistic practices that site language in the space between poetry, visual art, and their performance. Moving beyond the spectacle of the origination of poetry or art, this project seeks to allow memory as a creative act in the process of making experience common. The exhibition brings together five ​international and intergenerational artists including Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948, Chile), Tanya Lukin Linklater (b. 1976, Alutiiq), Julien Creuzet (b. 1986, France), Jasper Marsalis (b. 1995, US), and Alice Notley (b. 1945, US).

​This exhibition takes its title from the eponymous essay written by Steve Lyons and Jason Jones, published by e-flux journal in 2020. Their essay lays out the possibilities for establishing commonalities on the political left and argues for the existence of a space, imagined or real, outside of the demands of capitalism. Locating that space as already existing within Indigeneity, the authors propose that through the ‘language in common’ it is accessible to all.  Poetry, as a counter-hegemonic force, grounds the material operations of the works in the exhibition, making space for a new imaginary amidst the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.

Featuring works encompassing installation, sculpture, video, sound, drawing, poetry, and performance, as well as newly-commissioned works developed in response to the exhibition, The Language in Common aims towards activating what the poet Alice Notley has identified as the language that existed before we were born, “the language that holds all being together.”

Related events 
A related series of online and in person events will take place during the exhibition, including:

Poetry reading: Tanya Lukin Linklater
Wednesday, October 6, 4:30pm EST. RSVP to this online event.
Tanya Lukin Linklater will read from her first book Slow Scrape (Anteism, 2020), which is in the words of poet Layli Long Soldier, “an expansive and undulating meditation on time, relations, origin and colonization.”) 

Performance and artist talk: Cecilia Vicuña
Wednesday, October 13, 6:00pm EST
A participatory performance by artist Cecilia Vicuña in the installation of her quipu in the Ezra and Cecilia Zilkha Gallery, followed by an artist talk. Hosted by Writing at Wesleyan. 

Artists in conversation: Tanya Lukin Linklater and Raven Chacon
Tuesday, November 2, 6:00pm EST. RSVP to this online event
Join Tanya Lukin Linklater in conversation with Raven Chacon, a composer, performer and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. The artists will discuss the concepts of the score as related to their work.  

Artist talk: Julien Creuzet
Monday, November 15, 12:00pm EST. RSVP to this online event. 
Julien Creuzet is a French-Caribbean artist who lives and works in Paris. A visual artist and poet, he actively intertwines these two practices via amalgams of sculpture, installation and textual intervention. This talk will address his practice more broadly and focus on the new works included in this exhibition that tie together American chemical production, French colonialism, and a contemporary health crisis in Martinique.

This exhibition is supported by the Shapiro Center and Writing at Wesleyan, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, Latin American Studies, the Thomas and Catherine McMahon Fund of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the History Department, Connecticut Humanities, and the Center for the Arts. Additional support by Etant donnés Contemporary Art, a program developed by FACE Foundation, Villa Albertine and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the French Ministry of Culture and Institut Français-Paris, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Chanel USA, and ADAGP.  The Language in Common is curated by Benjamin Chaffee. Special thanks to Exhibition Manager Rosemary Lennox and Art Installer Paul Theriault.

Follow Zilkha on Instagram for more programming updates throughout the course of the exhibition run. In order to ensure a safe environment in the Gallery, all patrons must adhere to and follow the University COVID-19 safety guidelines. Wesleyan requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated.  

RSVP for The Language In Common
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University
October 5, 2021

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