press release

Opening June 2nd at EFA Project Space, Word-Less presents work that purposefully denies established forms of communication. Through performance, photography, video, sculpture, and installation, the artists in the exhibition seek alternative ways to articulate their narratives. With its deliberate disconnect, the title of the show emphasizes and plays on ideas of misinterpretation, and redefinition. The artists propose modes of abstract communication, both commenting on and circumventing the failures of hierarchical structure in language.

Some of these artists focus on veiling or abstracting symbols and text used to relay meaning. Carolyn Salas presents a series of cast memorial plaques that contain no inscription, and a sculpture series of busts without faces, declaring anonymous successes and questioning the traditional modes of honoring the individual. Fabienne Lasserre's Worldless and Inarticulates are abstract forms used to express the potential of the excluded and the innate power that exists in the margins of society. While Salas and Lassere employ formal aesthetics to examine communication and participation, Min Oh utilizes a logistical structure to generate her interactive performance A Dialog. In her work, the experience of naturally occurring dialog becomes abstracted to a diagram and the logic of exchange becomes open to interpretation.

Responding more directly to questions of identity, cultural assimilation, and race, Brendan Fernandeshired an acting coach to teach him how to speak in the accents of his own cultural heritage for his videoFoe. Using his learned inflections, he recites an excerpt from the book Foe, J.M Coetze's sequel to Robinson Crusoe. Rashaad Newsome'sShade Compositions uses the female subject to deconstruct and reinvent stereotyped expression. Video documentary of a performance in New York shows black women perform an a capella composition of dismissive "ghetto" gestures, choreographed by the artist in collaboration with the performers. Also commenting on the correlation between gesture and preconceptions of race, Michael Paul Britto's video Cool-Pose #1 projects cast shadows (a metaphor for blackness) as life-sized silhouettes enacting body movements associated with "gangsta-hip" behavior. In her silent video Siempre Hace Frio, Roxana Perez Mendez comments on the emotional effect immigration has on the women by morphing three stereotypical identities of women's attire on a single figure.

In both Duron Jackson and Jason Lujan's works, there is a reinvention of symbols to infer pre-existing histories. Jackson's abstracted aerial studies of correctional facilities reference Quilts of Gee's Bend, "Rooftop Variations" and Robert Smithson's "Non-site" through their abstraction of aerial studies of prisons. In these images, these places can become any place as well as no place at all. In Apache MaK Jason Lujan forges a new narrative that skirts the lines of history, fiction, and the differentiation of cultural identity. The artist creates hand-made scale models inspired by two referents: the work of a Japanese science fiction artist, and the symbols of the Apache Native Americans: melding real references to one culture with the fictional universe born out of an entirely different heritage.

EFA Project Space is a Program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.

EFA Project Space, a multi-disciplinary contemporary art venue focused on the investigation of the creative process, aims to provide dynamic exchanges between artists, cultural workers, and the public. Art is directly connected to its producers, to the communities they are a part of, and to every day life. By contextualizing and revealing these connections, we strive to bridge gaps in our cultural community, forging new partnerships and the expansion of ideas. Through these synergies, artists build on their creative power to further impact society.

EFA Project Space is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Private funding for the Gallery has been received from Lily Auchincloss Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation Inc.

only in german

Kurator: Felicity Hogan

Künstler: Michael Paul Britto, Brendan Fernandes, Duron Jackson, Fabienne Lasserre, Jason Lujan, Rashaad Newsome, Min Oh, Roxana Perez-Mendez, Carolyn Salas