Babette Mangolte featured in “That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on” at The Kitchen


That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on

The Kitchen

May 30 – Jun 10, 2017

Curated by: Magdalyn Asimakis, Jared Quinton, and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe, Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows at the Whitney Independent Study Program (ISP)

For The Kitchen’s upcoming exhibition, “That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on”, Broadway 1602 HARLEM artist Babette Mangolte will be showcasing her film “Four Pieces by Morris (1993)” as part of a group exhibition of sculpture, performance, photographs and installations. Using the United State’s current political crisis as fodder, the exhibition endeavors to investigate the interplay between what is perceived and what is known, the mechanisms of knowledge production and the technologies of social control—to elucidate and hopefully challenge the dominant modes of narrative production shaping our current political climate and to aid our understanding of the import and significance of these phenomena. Invoking the body of the subject as text, the exhibition is broadly concerned with how these technologies and media apparatuses condition the body into becoming and functioning as an historical subject. As such, the exhibition is squarely focused on how we can mobilize political conscientiousness and awareness into direct action, invoking varying technical methodologies and techniques like performance, repetition, and rhetoric, to expose the ways in which we are disciplined into states of social conformity, political submission, and ignorance in the face of propaganda, corruption, lies and deception.

The title of the exhibition is a citation of the curator, artist, teacher and writer Ian White’s essay “Removing the Minus”, and it is in this light that “That I am reading backwards” seeks to expose the negative space within which the logic of political media is obfuscated and rendered invisible, and to populate this vacancy. The curators of the exhibition, inspired by White’s “pedagogical poetics”, posit both the privilege and responsibility of art “to address both what is seen and the mechanisms of viewership—the keys to which, as White’s quote suggests, lie in reading backward and into while looking toward the future.” As a means of exploring the limitations of our perception and the problematics of media representation, Babette Mangolte will be showing her film, “Four Pieces by Morris (1993)” for the exhibition, a piec concerned with the question of whether an artist can depict or represent the aesthetic of another generation without debasing it, and what modes of representation are necessary to depict the sense of time of another era. To address these questions, Mangolte heightens the presence of the performer’s body within the frame, and in so doing creates a distended sense of time-space in which the performer’s movements are decontextualized from the illusion of a present within the film. Understanding that art is at once “a form of displacement” as well as a “frame”, Mangolte uses the juxtapositions between history, perception, movement and the body to highlight the innovations of postmodern dance in New York during the sixties and seventies.

“That I am reading backwards and looking into for a purpose, to go on” will explore these methodological, socio-aesthetic and political questions from a variety of technical vantage points, featuring the works of Julia Phillips, Kevin Beasley, Brendan Fernandes, Babette Mangolte, Martine Syms, Silvia Kolbowski, Lorenza Mondada, Sara Keel & Nicolle Bussien, Steffani Jemison, Marvin Luvualu Antonio, and Aisha Sasha John, along with a publication by Park McArthur, taisha paggett, and Tanya Lukin Linklater.

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