Lisa Cooley is pleased to present Itself Not So, curated by Rachel Valinsky. Titled after a poem from Susan Howe’s Frolic Architecture, the exhibition takes aphasia, a cognitive disorder causing an inability to understand or produce speech, as a cypher with metaphoric and metonymic implications. The show assembles a variety of practices and strategies that, when taken together, form a polyphonic response to the fundamental rupture between thought and expression that aphasia engenders.
The works in the exhibition scatter words across a visual, sonic, and ideational field. Hovering on the edge of articulacy, they engage with the structure of language steeped in various automatisms, blind spots, absurdisms, pathologies, interferences, dismemberments, and viral dislocations. They explore the silences wrought by incomprehension and impenetrability, where communication breaks down, or is mired in doubt, hesitance, stuttering. Likewise, the participating artists linger in the ellipses of association, opening up different possible correspondences between language, representation, and meaning by complicating the ways in which ideas, sounds, and images are produced, transmitted, and understood.
Itself Not So ushers in the moment of enunciation where the voice is heard but the word does not pronounce itself. Or, alternatively, the word is transmitted, but its meaning not understood. The project aims not to culminate in aphasia universalis—the total loss of power to use or apprehend speech, total silence—but rather to interrogate partial losses and silences, forgettings and unlearnings, piecemeal understanding, inchoate signification, and possibilities of communicating, however haphazardly. Performances by Fia Backström, Ben Vida, and Research Service (Avi Alpert, Mashinka Firunts, and Danny Snelson), will take place during the course of the exhibition. See below for more information.
Fia Backström, Julien Bismuth, Michael Dean, Ryan Gander, James Hoff, Susan Howe, Christopher Knowles, Sophia Le Fraga, Rick Myers, Research Service, Aram Saroyan, Imogen Stidworthy, Sue Tompkins, Ben Vida
Lisa Cooley Gallery
Wednesday - Sunday
From 10am to 6pm
1 & 3. Installation view: Itself Not So, curated by Rachel Valinsky, Lisa Cooley, New York, 2014. Courtesy of the artists and Lisa Cooley, New York. Photography by Cary Whittier
2. Imogen Stidworthy, I Hate, 2007, Single-channel HD video, 7:10 minutes. Courtesy of the artist; Matt's Gallery, London; Lisa Cooley, New York. Photography by Cary Whittier
4. Julien Bismuth, A train of thought, 2011, Wood and paint, In 4 parts: 39 3/8 x 2 x 2 inches each. Overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist; Simone Subal Gallery, New York; Lisa Cooley, New York. Photography by Cary Whittier
5. Rick Myers, Either side of the eye, 2010, Steel, lubricating flake graphite, In 2 parts: 3.5 x 4 x .75 inches each. Overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York. Photography by Cary Whittier
6. Michael Dean, Analogue Series (tongue), On the pronunciation of the letter L, 2014, Concrete, MDF, and glue, 48 x 96 x 96 inches. Courtesy of the artist; Herald St, London; Lisa Cooley, New York. Photography by Cary Whittier