May 17, 2016 - SculptureCenter - Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance / In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New
May 17, 2016


Leslie Hewitt, Untitled, 2012. Installation view, Collective Stance, SculptureCenter, 2016. Sheet metal with industrial coat, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Photo: Kyle Knodell.

Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance
In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New
May 1–August 1, 2016

In/On Construction: Leslie Hewitt and Leah Meisterlin in conversation: June 15, 7pm

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SculptureCenter is pleased to announce the opening of two exhibitions, on view through August 1, 2016.

Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance
SculptureCenter presents an exhibition titled Collective Stance featuring new and recent work by artist Leslie Hewitt. The exhibition includes two film installations along with recent sculpture and lithographs. Both film installations, which are premiering in New York at SculptureCenter, were created in collaboration with renowned cinematographer Bradford Young.

Untitled (Structures) (2012) is a two-channel film installation inspired by an archive of civil rights-era photographs housed at the Menil Collection in Houston. Originally commissioned by the Menil Collection, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Untitled (Structures) presents a series of silent vignettes shot at locations in Chicago, Memphis, and the Arkansas Delta; places that were profoundly impacted by the Great Migration and by the civil rights movement. The installation poses critical questions of the historicity of the archive and photojournalistic modes. Hewitt and Young's close examination of such matters through the exploration of architecture, still photography, and body memory, move away from nostalgia and re-enactment as conventions. Through the assertion of the work's contemporaneity, Hewitt and Young's project explores temporality, exposing the tension between still photography and the cinematic experiences of moving images, between the past and the present, between the physical and the psychological. A new film installation, Stills (2015), incorporating footage from their shoots (2010–12) will debut which furthers Hewitt and Young's nuanced and structural approach.

Hewitt frequently pushes the limits of form to take on multiple meanings and considerations, from individual and collective relationships to memory, history, and, ultimately, time. Her compositions often comprise fragments that produce the possibility of both seeing and experiencing in unexpected ways. 

Hewitt's installation Untitled (2012) is a series of steel sculptures presented alongside photolithographs. These white, industrially-made sculptures echo architectural forms and fragments inviting viewers to consider alternate perspectives and orientations in space. The photolithographs are prints representing small details of historic photographs. The process of photolithography is most often associated with the production of circuit boards and microprocessors. Hewitt's use of the process produces ravishing prints that generate a tension between light and shadow, positive and negative space, but also between pattern, surface, and the representational image. 

Throughout the exhibition, Hewitt invites viewers to consider space through sculpture and image, illusion, and form, and through the multiplicity of temporal experiences that hover in and around contemporary life. 

The exhibition is curated by SculptureCenter Executive Director and Chief Curator Mary Ceruti and is co-produced with The Power Plant in Toronto. SculptureCenter is co-publishing with The Power Plant and Dancing Foxes, a book that considers the themes developed in the film installations. 


In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New
Artists: Christopher Aque, Phillip Birch, Onyedika Chuke, Jonathan Ehrenberg, Tamar Ettun, Raque Ford, Jeannine Han, Elizabeth Jaeger, Meredith James, Jamie Sneider, Patrice Renee Washington, Tuguldur Yondonjamts

The title of this exhibition, taken directly from Freud's lecture on dreams, is a sentence stopped midway. He completes the thought by stating that the creative process of the mind can only regroup elements from already existing sources—that any one creative fantasy is a work of translating what one knows of reality into an imaginary space. The exhibition, organized from proposals for new work submitted through SculptureCenter's annual open call, borrows from the operation of the dream composite—what Freud termed "condensation"—to foreground practices that employ the means of combining and blending often contradictory elements into a collective image. The artists in the exhibition each propose fantastical places or narratives that are differentiated by distinct material approaches.

Mining the way one's fantasy directs desire toward the setting and not the object, Christopher Aque's life-size glass form and an accompanying video work depict scenes of male cruising at the site of the new World Trade Center; Jeannine Han presents a tableau vivant, accompanied by a 16mm film, made in collaboration with Daniel Riley, as a mise-en-scène of subjects and symbols that get suspended in a space that's real and oneiric; Meredith James invites viewers to inhabit scenes of altered perception where everyday objects of use are utilized as placeholders for scenographic dioramas. Proposing a multi-dimensional self, Phillip Birch's projected hologram actors are in many ways an extension of the artist and a visualization of a split-subject while Jonathan Ehrenberg's video narrative is a representation of a first and a third person's recurring dream scenario structured by the formal device of the loop; Patrice Renee Washington inserts two four-part white ceramic forms into cavernous shelving units, implying a literal fitting in and a plural makeup of being. Proposing narratives culled from multiple sources, Onyedika Chuke maps a specific period of war by situating separate occurrences that took place at the time and the geographical location of conflict; Tamar Ettun presents colorful site arrangements of cast limbs and repurposed objects that diverge the mental impact of trauma; Raque Ford's polyptych plexiglass panel reveals an enigmatic narrative of a sexual encounter between two famous female personas told through laser cut imagery and handwritten lyrics; Tuguldur Yondonjamts combines elements of mythos and the real in a dislocation and mapping of subjects who get suspended in time and across the continental space. Works structured by the mental act of recuperation are Elizabeth Jaeger's arrangement of deep ceramic vessels on steel shelving structures that the artist perceives as psychological containers of physical conditions brought upon by the mind, as Jamie Sneider's composed scene of steel and aluminum medical equipment and dyed paper and textiles wavers between a suggested absence and an influx of activity.

Curated by SculptureCenter's 2016 Curatorial Fellow Olga Dekalo.


About SculptureCenter
Founded by artists in 1928, SculptureCenter is a not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to experimental and innovative developments in contemporary sculpture. SculptureCenter commissions new work and presents exhibits by emerging and established, national and international artists. SculptureCenter has provided thousands of artists the opportunity to create and exhibit new work and introduced New York audiences to hundreds of emerging artists as well as established artists from all over the world.

Leslie Hewitt: Collective Stance is presented with generous support by Tom Cote and Fotene Demoulas, Diane and Craig Solomon, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, Noel Kirnon, Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine Boccuzzi, Lucien Terras, Gregory R. Miller and Michael Wiener, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

In Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing New is presented with generous support by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

SculptureCenter’s exhibition and operating support is generously provided by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the Kraus Family Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the A. Woodner Fund; Jeanne Donovan Fisher; Astoria Bank; and contributions from our Board of Trustees and Director’s Circle. Additional funding is provided by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and contributions from many generous individuals.

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