Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present Trip of the Tongue, a group exhibition curated by Piper Marshall that examines how communication is filtered, trained, and disciplined. The title comes from a mistranslation of a common English phrase- “slip of the tongue”- meaning a specific kind of verbal blunder that is an excess of intended speech. Such slips can be telling, when they reveal our inner thoughts unintentionally, or they can also be random, absurd, or humorous. As social errors, they detour the conversation and push against the control we typically try to exert over our language.
Several of the artists in the exhibition likewise address, play with, and refigure language, while others point to idiosyncrasies of its deployment. Instead of privileging a fixed meaning, the artworks encourage us to take a more indeterminate route. If one can imagine a kind of typical “itinerary” from hearing to comprehending (with perhaps tasting or seeing along the way), the featured artworks encourage creative detours along the way.
The exhibition begins with Judith Bernstein’s charcoal text works, which are inspired by graffiti one might find in public restrooms. The artist scrawls “teeth” and “brain” with broad, energized lines, creating a visual vibration that turns the letters into evocative phallic and labial forms. Through mark making, Bernstein reveals the hinge between sex and language.
Ida Ekblad’s gestural paintings engage with inscription to make text indecipherable. While they lure readers into an engagement, the frenetic shapes and puffs ultimately fail to cohere. Ekblad abandons literal meaning for the pleasure of debasing legibility.
A tension between figuration and abstraction undergirds the paintings of Torey Thornton. Over stripes that extend the width of the canvas, he lays out four forms. As one takes in the chromatic anomalies, the mind attempts to piece together the respective parts, ultimately giving way to an optical oscillation. Such focus of attention occurs on a continuum. Once engendered within a body, it can be instructed, trained. Elaine Cameron Weir’s sculpture, formed in part by a dental mask, highlights the artist’s interest in evolutionary design as applied to the body. The steel frame disciplines the body—and emits an herbaceous scent to provoke the palate.
The photographs of Torbjørn Rødland implicate another kind of taste. Here, dental prostheses and incisions demonstrate how the body’s perceived defects are made to adapt to aesthetic conventions. The unsettlingly lit sculptural scenarios are excessive in finish; their tactility zeros in to both facilitate and make perverse the gloss.
Judith Bernstein (b. 1942, Newark, NJ) has lived and worked in New York City since 1967. She received an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1967. Bernstein was a founding member of A.I.R. Gallery as well as an early member of many art and activist organizations including Guerrilla Girls, Art Workers’ Coalition, and Fight Censorship. Bernstein’s work is held in the collections of numerous public institutions around the world, including the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase; the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; and the Alex Katz Foundation, New York. Bernstein is a 2016 Guggenheim fellowship award recipient and her solo exhibition “Cabinet of Horrors” opens at the Drawing Center, NYC in fall 2017.
Elaine Cameron-Weir (b. 1985, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada) lives and works in New York. She earned a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design and an MFA from New York University. Cameron-Weir has had solo exhibitions at Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles (2017); Andrea Rosen Gallery 2, New York (2016); VENUS, Los Angeles (2016); Ramiken Crucible, New York (2014); and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels (2014). She has been included in group exhibitions such as La Biennale de Montréal (2016–17); FUTURA, Prague (2016); GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2014–15); and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014).
Ida Ekblad (b. 1980, Oslo, Norway) lives and works in Oslo. Solo exhibitions include Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg (2017); Baltic, Gateshead (2015); The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2013); Revolution: Ida Ekblad, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2013); The Root Cellar curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, De Vleeshal, Middelburg (2013); Low tide bring da ruckus, West London Projects, London (2012); Poem Percussion, Bergen Kunsthall, (2010); and Digging. Treasure, Bonniers Kunsthall, Stockholm (2010). Group shows include: Raw and Delirious, Kunsthalle Bern (2015); Unshelling and Shelling again, Kunsthall Stavanger, Stavanger (2014); Champs Elysées, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Revolution: John Chamberlain, Ida Ekblad, Christina Streuli, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2013); The Garden of Forking Paths- An Outdoor Sculpture Project on the Blum Family Estate in Samstagen, Migros Museum, Zurich (2011); Younger Than Jesus, curated by Lauren Cornell, Massimiliano Gioni and Laura Hoptman, New Museum, New York (2009); and Dark Continents, MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2008). In 2018, Ekblad will have a solo show at Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City.
Torbjørn Rødland (b. 1970, Stavanger, Norway) lives and works in Los Angeles. Rødland has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2015), Kunsthall Stavanger, Stavanger (2014), Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2010), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis (2010), and MoMA PS1, New York (2006). He has participated in Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016), the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), the 48th Venice Biennale (1999) and has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions including Casino Luxembourg Forum D’art Contemporain, Luxembourg (2013), Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon (2009), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2005), and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2000). In fall 2017, Rødland will have solo shows at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London and at C/O Berlin.
Torey Thornton (b. 1990, Macon, GA) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from Cooper Union in 2012. His work has shown nationally and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, UK; Shane Campbell, Chicago, IL; and Karma, New York, NY. Recent group exhibitions include: Whitney Biennial 2017, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Living Apart Together: Recent Acquisitions from the Hammer Contemporary Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and Third Space/Shifting Conversations About Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL. Thornton’s work is in the permanent collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, IL; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Piper Marshall is an independent curator and distinguished writer. Her research-intensive practice is conducted at the Department of Art History at Columbia University, where she is a fourth year PhD student. Marshall is the curator of the 12th Annual A.I.R. Biennial (2017). Prior to continuing studies at Columbia University in 2014, Marshall was Curator at the Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art in New York (2007-2013). She has curated group exhibitions including Life of Forms, Mary Boone Gallery, NYC (2016); Body Bildung, Galerie Max Meyer, Dusseldorf, Germany (2015); Couplings, Taylor Macklin, Zurich, Switzerland (2014); and Descartes Daughter, Swiss Institute, NYC (2013). Marshall has curated monographic exhibitions of artists Sadie Benning; John Miller, Ericka Beckman; Silke-Otto Knapp, Allan McCollum; Judith Bernstein among many others. She contributed essays to the monographs of Rochelle Goldberg and Josephine Meckseper and has edited the exhibition reader for Descartes Daughter. Marshall has presented her work at the Van Gogh Foundation, Arles; Paris Photo France; and the Graduate Center, CUNY and serves as Editor-at-Large for the journal The Exhibitionist.