NEW YORK, NY.- The Pace Gallery
presents Soft Machines, a group exhibition of artists exploring the influence and effects of control mechanisms on the human body. The exhibition features works by Stuart Brisley, Kathryn Garcia, Anthony Keith Giannini, Kate Gilmore, Tim Hawkinson, Liz Magic Laser and Anna Ostoya, Lovett/Codagnone, Adam Pendleton, Paul Pfeiffer, Ma Qiusha, Holton Rower, Sterling Ruby, and Kiki Smith. Soft Machines will be on view at 545 West 22nd Street through August 26, 2011.
Through paintings, installations, sculptures, multimedia works, and performances, this exhibition examines the effects of society's coping devices and their influence on psychological and physical states. The title of the exhibition alludes to William S. Burroughs' subversive novel, The Soft Machine (1961), populated by control and the controlled where narcotics, alcohol, sex, power, money, religion, ideology and language expose the fragile entry points of the animal psyche, and the brutality exacted by the modern world.
Soft Machines was curated by Sarvia Jasso, Harmony Murphy, and Nicola Vassell of The Pace Gallery.
As part of the exhibition, Kate Gilmore debuted a new performance, entitled Through the Claw, 2011, during the opening reception. Throughout the duration of the evening, five women in pale pink dresses and heels ripped apart a large clay cube while also hurling it at the wall, critiquing the social construction of gender and male-centric art movements. After the performance, the remnants remained in the gallery as an installation for the remainder of the exhibition.
A new Double Vampire sculpture from 2011 by Sterling Ruby, whose diverse practice confronts contemporary isolation and the social structures that create it, is also on view. Ruby will be the subject of a solo exhibition at The Pace Gallery, Beijing this fall. Other highlights include Lovett/Codagnones installation Give me the Night, 2011a disco ball looming over steel barricadesreferencing seventies-era repression of sexual freedom and bodily empowerment, and continuing the duos ongoing investigations of power relations and public/private dichotomies.
Tim Hawkinsons bodily impression is inverted and inflated in his life-sized, silicone skin Balloon Self-Portrait #4, 1996. Daisy Chain, 1992, by Kiki Smith, a leading figure among artists investigating the physical, social, and spiritual aspects of human nature, is also on view. Versions of the disembodied head and links of steel on view in Soft Machines have been included in major museum exhibitions including Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 19802005 (traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 20057). In addition, Kathryn Garcia explores the psychoanalytic idea of le corps morcele (the body in pieces) in a mixed-media installation from 2011.
Other featured works include Beijing-based artist Ma Qiushas gripping psychological portrait No.4 Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili, a video performance of the artist holding a razor blade to her tongue as she recounts short narratives about her life as a young artist, exploring artists conflict with societal, cultural, and familial pressures of achieving success; new work by Adam Pendleton from his System of Display and Black Dada series, playing with visual codes embedded in language; and Anthony Keith Gianninis Gather then Mourn, 2011, which questions the role of media generated imagery in creating a contemporary grand narrative.
Paul Pfeiffers 2004 video, Desiderata, uses the TV show The Price Is Right as a departure to examine the role mass media plays in shaping human conscious and highlighting societys compulsion for money and materiality. British performance artist Stuart Brisleys installation The Collection of Ordure, 2002, confronts pollution, excrement, excess and consumption in relation to the body. Liz Magic Laser & Anna Ostoya debuts Imprint (photographs), an ongoing project that began in 2009, which documents stains and the blood-like imprints of body partsfeet, ears, fingertips, etc.in commercial spaces throughout New York City. Notions of artistic process, leisure pursuits and neurotic behaviors are merged to re-articulate consumer conduct. Holton Rowers 6ac6g, 2011, an organic evolution of the artists experiments with incremental paint-pouring, referencing the effect of hallucinogenics in distorting perception and function of mind and body, is also on view.