Baked Alaska and Birthday Cake
Super Dutchess Gallery
November 1st - December 1st, 2018
curated by Amanda Nedham and Kyle Hittmeier
Tatiana Istomina | Blake Hiltunen | Kyle Hittmeier.
Bonam Kim | David McIntosh
When we contemplate legacy we think about what will be passed on. From the personal to the political, we are collectively and inexorably linked to others, either through active cultivation or by way of the incidental. As the reverberations of our sharing and participation are felt through a myriad of technologies the implication is that agency is being gained, but has the potential of which be stripped away..
There are those who have the capacity to dominate in fields such as philosophy, finance, or politics, and then there are those whose quiet power is found in upholding traditions and participating in oral storytelling. In each case there is an externalization of the self within the context of history as negotiable. This points to the notion that legacy is not guaranteed. As people choose to share their stories, or have personal information divulged, they are imprinting their surrounding with a social stamp, forcing the world to reckon with how they desire to be remembered. Each artist in this exhibition is interested in the legacy of a person or group of people and examines the poetry, the lies, and the gaps in between these spaces..
The title is taken from T.S. Ellis, Paul Manafort’s trial judge..
Rotation I: November 1 - November 14, 2018.
The first rotation of Baked Alaska and Birthday Cake, sees three artists working with different strategies to expand on and update complex legacies. Blake Hiltunen draws inspiration from Narcissus, a mythological figure who was doomed after he fell in love with his own reflection and realized that the object of his affection could not materialize. Heeding this cautionary tale, the selfie-like impulse to stare into one’s own eyes is stopped dead by Hiltunen’s two calcified mirrors, Ossified Gestures 8 & Ossified Gestures 13. The object we typically use to mold our outward appearance instead comes to reflect our most immediate tools of labour. These two works flank Bull/Dog, a centralized iron mass resembling both a meteor and a disembodied head.
David McIntosh’s Quipucamayoc timeframe prints burst into the multitude via a trans-locally networked and shared virtual space of live interactive 3D digital visual and audio performance. The six stills displayed at Super Dutchess are taken from a performance where dancers were connected to digital avatars inspired by the Huarochiri Manuscript, a 16th century compilation of pre-Colombian Andean religious rites. Thirty five artists, designers, historians, theorists and coders in Peru, Argentina and Canada worked together to create a performance that explores the centuries of interactions between Cusco, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Tatiana Istomina’s soft fabric sculptures from her series Philosophy of the Encounter move between classical marbles and mended dolls. What may at first glance seem playful, upon closer inspection is disrupted by heavy stitches and lacerations of the surface. The works reference the nearly forgotten and disturbing biography of Hélène Rytman, wife of distinguished philosopher, Louis Althusser. Hélène was murdered by her husband in 1980 during a supposed moment of temporary insanity. Today he remains a respected thinker—his texts written before and after the murder are published and read. Hélène, however, has become a mystery: an unexplained embarrassment in the life of a notable intellectual and a possible influence on his theory of social determinism.
Rotation 2: November 15 - December 1, 2018
Bonam Kim is an artist whose work speaks to her cultural identity as someone who has moved to the United States from South Korea. In Between Dream and Dark, Kim conveys a playful sense of strangeness in a game that is impossible to win. In changing the scale of its components, the rules become both unfamiliar and inaccessible for its participants. Touching upon a similar sense of limbo space, The Story of a Stranger, contains a trunk full of miniaturized versions of artifacts from Kim’s previous performances, asking the viewer to consider her displacement and consistent unrest as a working artist abroad.
Kyle Hittmeier’s works examine the property at 377 Union Street—a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, purchased by Paul Manafort as means to launder his fortune. After visits to this property, Hittmeier used CAD construction and rendering, to digitally recreate scenes of this site as means of reconciling a gamut of corruption, from the physical space of a seized property, to a seemingly inaccessible landscape of national and international politics. In 377 Union Street I, broken real estate placards display a collection of both found and original images of the brownstone, calling into question the physical access one may have as viewer into a larger network of covert dealings.
Both Kim and Hittmeier look at flip sides of legacy in relation to the American dream, focusing on questions around identity, mobility, security, ownership, and freedom.