MONTERREY.- Dear Ana,
Ryan came up with Pushing Up Daisies while I was desperately searching for a title for the show. Late at night, I was systematically going through books of poetry. Olson, Stein, Ginsberg... none of them revealed a thing to me. He came back home, took his shoes off, asked what I was doing, and came up with the title. I did not know what it meant, pushing up daisies. He explained that it's a nice way to say that someone is about to die; "soon, I will be pushing up daisies." Why death? We spoke about Ginsberg. I damaged one of his books, that is, Ginsbergs, that Ryan owns, Gay Sunshine Interview. Dipped it in water, that yellow thing. Ginsberg talks there about gayness; gayness as in sexual orientation, and as in happiness. Carefree happiness that touches madness, madness that arrives with freedom. Then he told me about that movie that Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie directed, a mediocre -though pretty fun to watch- movie with Ginsberg and Kerouac, and others, called Pull My Daisy. The ﬁlm's title is taken from a poem by Ginsberg, Cassady, and Kerouac, from around the late 40''. It is said that Pull My Daisy was written in the exquisite corpse style, though I think that the poem was written while the three were dictating and transcribing it. Here are few lines:
Pull my daisy
Tip my cup
All my doors are open
Cut my thoughts
All my eggs are broken
Jack my Arden
Gate my shades
Woe my road is spoken
Silk my garden
Rose my days
Now my prayers awaken
Ryan is against Press Releases. Perhaps against is of a too harsh term here; he ﬁnds them useless. I tend to agree with him. Press Releases seem to operate as a signiﬁer shortcut. Dont bother to think about the work - we will tell you what it's all about. And there must be always "about"! But, why? Why there must be about? When and why did we forget, that art can be; be without references. When did we lose it is what it is? So here it is. The artists in this show share few things, though they carry distinctive practices. Releasing themselves from the world as it is, from the net of the referential, they work without, or rather outside of language. Instead of pointing back, they draw new vectors. It is a skill that necessitates unlearning. Unlearning, forgetting, silencing noises; truly difﬁcult abilities to conquer. There, one ﬁnds herself in darkness, with no clear ground and no ego to afﬁrm. There are no mirrors, therefore the death that I brought up earlier. Death, because these artists are committed to a continuous transformation. Also, they don't give a fuck about the marked. I mean, they would love to sell more and so on, but they do what they do regardless. Lastly, death, because they are not afraid. Like the daisies, their work is stupefying in its beauty, while also troubling and sometimes gross.
We hope you will enjoy the show,
Ruslana and Ryan
Triumph Chicago was born in 2017 out of passion and necessity, and, in a rush. We, Ryan Coffey and Ruslana Lichtzier, she a curator/writer/educator and he an artist and educator, operate through categorical disaccord, as a method. We cannot agree on whether it is a Project Space or a Gallery, do we collaborate with artists or do we represent them, are we operating and therefore complicit in the framework of contemporary late-capitalism or are we attempting to subvert it only. These dichotomies, and many other matters which relate to the complexity of relationship based partnership, are the reason that Triumph is what it is. Triumph is a space of passions, compassion, and always temporal resolutions. We subscribe to no one but to each other. We have no mission statement but that of going through life, which is making and thinking of Art. In the meantime, we attempt to be attentive, to look, observe and to love. We embrace failure, we are fascinated by states of collapse; most importantly, we learn and we adapt.
Triumph is not about winning, or being on top. Triumph is about the work, and the work is everywhere.
Born in Siberia, Russia and raised in Israel, Ruslana Lichtzier is a curator, writer, and educator. Her background as a migrant propels cultural productions that aim to nest radical imagination of difference and change. She is the initiator and co-director of Triumph School Manual Project, in Triumph, Illinois, and of the project space Triumph, Chicago. Recent productions include the group exhibition The Dangerous Professors, Triumph, Chicago, and the research project in form of a group exhibition Terrorists in The Library, Harold Washington College (Chicago, Illinois). She is a Core fellow at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX) and the CoDirector of Jewish Artist Fellowship, at Spertus, Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. She is also a contributor writer for The Seen Magazine (EXPO Chicago). Most recently she taught at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and Spertus Institute.
Ryan Coffey received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013 and his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003, after three years at the School of Visual Arts, NYC. From 1999 to 2011, he moved between San Francisco and New York, exhibiting repeatedly in both cities. Recent solo exhibitions include Ryan Coffey I/S, at Triumph, Chicago (Chicago, IL, 2017) and Ryan Coffey: On Permanent Display, at Efrain Lopez Gallery, (Chicago, IL, 2016). Recent group exhibitions include The Annual, at the Chicago Artists Coalition (Chicago, IL, 2017), and "No Regrets" at the Neiman Gallery in (NYC, NY, 2017). He is the co-founder and codirector of Triumph, Chicago, and Triumph Manual School Project, in Triumph, IL.
Artists: Leslie Baum & Allison Wade, Dan Devening, Anastasia Douka, Sacha Ingber, Billy James Joyce, Matt Mancini, Lior Modan, Dan Rizzo-Orr