Periodically, we invite well-known artists and arts professionals to create a Short List of some of their favorite artists in the BRIC Contemporary Artist Registry. This Short List was curated by Osman Can Yerebakan.
CRUMBS OF A MADELEINE: IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME
"The remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were." -- Marcel Proust
"No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me [...] And suddenly the memory revealed itself," recollects the Narrator in Marcel Proust's seminal work In Search of Lost Time. Evoking sudden memories from his early childhood now to his adult self, this bite of a madeleine dipped in tea is arguably the most iconic conceiving of involuntary memory—a phenomenon where a distant memory is suddenly recollected due to unexpected stimulation of the senses. The notion of involuntary memory manifests what Proust and many other authors and artists have appropriated in their works: inner time. In this selection, I aim to articulate this sensitive and fragile state of memories so susceptible to unexpected sensual stimuli beyond our intellectual control. Bringing together artists employing archival material, computer generated or manual manipulation, and collage; the exhibition aims to observe, interpret, and eventually shed light on the subjectivity of inner time with its ebbs and flows.
Rehan Miskci mines the archive of a bygone photography studio from Istanbul, where she is originally from. From the repertoire of this Armenian photographer—with whom Miskci shares her heritage—the artist unveils a traumatic memory pattern of the diaspora experience. Familiarizing herself with those that posed in Maryam Sahinyan's studio, Miskci's Void series accumulates conversant memories that stand timeless and autonomous yet epitomize erased and submerged histories.
Ryan Russo repurposes redundant VHS tapes as his source material to orchestrate geometrical images through an expansive color spectrum. Complicating the highly visceral nature of film, the artist scrutinizes the imposing nature of media while studying its effect on collective memory in contemporary culture. Russo contemplates memory and its anecdotal nature using 'moments' from Vertigo or Requiem for a Dream as a canvas.
Bradly Dever Treadaway concocts a hybrid monument assembling tokens of ancestral traces and embodiments of shared memories from a catastrophic experience. Entangled Archives is an eclectic structure that houses light boxes made out of furniture salvaged from Hurricane Katrina. They're interconnected via black cords to photos of the New Orleans native artist's roots dating back as far as the 1800s.
Dan Fairbanks investigates inherent contrasts between the reality and its recollected rendition in response to queer identity—a recurring thread in the artist's work as a mold for self-realization. Bondage depicts a standing nude male, partially veiled by painters tape. The tape juxtaposes a struggle to exist through memory and the form of the striving queer body against an authority that tries to conceal what endures.
Jaynie Crimmins relies on rustic and elementary source material—her junk mail—to arrange distinctive compositions. She sews thinly shredded paper together in a meditative and laborious act, re-contextualizing trivial or personal information her correspondences obtain. Crimmins' recent memory then evolves into emblems of her self-expression in deconstructed particles amassed in whimsical aesthetic.
Naomi Elena Ramirez examines performance from the lens of archival memory. Adopting one of the most fundamental challenges related to performance art—preservation—the artist delves into the notion of documentation of the ephemeral state. Cut-out photographs from her performances emerge as multimedia collages that not only document the fluid and intangible reality of human motion but also emphasize a non-linear state of remembrance.
Osman Can Yerebakan is a curator and art writer based in New York. Osman holds BA in Comparative Literature from Istanbul Bilgi University and MA in Art Management from Fashion Institute of Technology. Among his fields of interest are fluid state of audience interaction, the kinship between literature and fine arts, and performance of identity as political declaration. His writings appear periodically on Art Observed and occasionally on Filthy Dreams. He recently co-curated Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 for Visual AIDS at La MaMa Galleria, which was reviewed by Hyperallergic, i-D, Bedford+Bowery and Sang Bleu.