Signs and Symbols is pleased to present When in the Course of Human Events, a solo exhibition by Annabel Daou. The work was conceived during a six-month performance in residence at signs and symbols where Daou presented her ongoing project, Fortune. For this exhibition, Daou incorporates language, paper and recorded audio into a complex and performative visual object and sound installation.
The exhibition features a single scroll-like work that extends the length of the gallery. Daou conceives of the piece as an expansive edict or charter. Unfurled into the exhibition space, the black ink-dyed microfiber paper evokes both the street and the artist’s studio floor, which is imprinted across its surface. The text is written in white correction fluid that has been inked over and re-inscribed in places, suggesting a perpetually revised and amended palimpsest. Lines of language spill out over the slit surface of the piece, weaving and folding into one another, an entanglement of many voices.
The work’s title and opening line is taken from the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. Reappropriated by Daou, the words become a universal template for articulating the pivotal moment when one is moved to act. As in previous works by Daou, the subsequent phrases she uses shift between the personal and the political. Everyday expressions are interspersed with lines borrowed, stolen or gifted by artists, poets, writers and activists. Cumulatively these words express a sense of urgency in the face of global disturbances that have given the lie to the viability of the prevailing political economic order. DECLARATION, a sound piece created in collaboration with Miriam Schickler merges the voice of the artist reciting language drawn from the text of the scroll with sounds from city streets near and far.
Annabel Daou’s work takes place at the intersection of writing, speech, and nonverbal communication. Her paper-and-tape constructions, sound pieces, and performances explore the language of power and intimacy. Daou was born and raised in Beirut and lives in Brooklyn. She is currently a Pollock-Krasner resident at ISCP. Her book of fictional prose, The Autobiography of A, will be published in 2020. Daou is currently organizing The Lobby, a temporary public exhibition program. Daou’s work has been shown at The National Museum of Beirut; The Park Avenue Armory, New York; KW, Berlin; The Drawing Room, London; and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Public collections include: Baltimore Museum of Art; The Menil Collection; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; The Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul; and The Yale University Art Gallery.