Opening Reception, Saturday May 13th, 6-8pm
Spencer Brownstone Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition by Italian artist collaborative goldiechiari.
goldiechiari - Sara Goldschmied and Elonora Chiari - have been working together since 1997, producing a diverse range of projects including performance, installation, video, and photography. In homage to some of their feminist antecedents, the artists have styled themselves as 'ironic activists', exploring, with wry humor, some of the staples of the western art tradition, especially its representation of the body and nature.
With their recent 'Welcome' projects, goldichiari take the conventions of looking at art in a gallery as a starting point for a play on communication and confusion, openness and exclusion. For 'Welcome #1', 2005, visitors to the exhibition were thwarted by a chair jammed against the door, a menacing low frequency rumbling suggesting the drama of what lay behind. The piece succinctly underlined the element of projection involved in our experience of art.
For the current project at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, viewers encounter an imposing minimalist structure resembling a barrier or wall. As we move around this sculpture, which runs the entire length of the main gallery, a number of narrow nooks and passages suggest a maze - but we are repeatedly blocked when trying to find a way through. The rough concrete-gray finish of the structure only seems to add to its mute recalcitrance. In the back gallery, invited to climb a ladder adjacent to the partition wall, we can peer back into the main space. With this simple change of perspective, the monumentality of the artists' structure is suddenly dissolved as we realize it spells out a warm salutation, 'WELCOME', in 8ft high letters.
goldiechiari resist any claims toward single interpretations of their projects. Citing Donna Haraway (vision is always a question of the power to see and perhaps of the violence implicit in our visualization practices), the artists prefer instead that their work engender confusion, contradiction and humor.
goldiechiari are based in Rome, Italy. Their recent projects have been seen at Gagosian Gallery, Berlin; Viafarini, Milan; and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. This year, their solo exhibition 'Enjoy', at Elaine Levy Project in Brussels, was accompanied by the publication of a book, and in 2005, they completed a major public art project for the Fondazione Andriano Olivetti, Rome.