Harbinger: Wick - R. Blair Sullivan
fimmtudagur, 18. ágúst 2022
Harbinger: Wick - R. Blair Sullivan
Harbinger býður ykkur hjartanlega velkomin á opnun WICK einkasýningar R. Blair Sullivan
föstudaginn 19. ágúst frá 18:00 - 20:00. Á opnuninni flytur Ryan gjörning við undirleik Charlie Dwarf
Sýningin stendur til 10. september
Með rannsóknartengdri og fjölfaglegri nálgun á teikningu tengir R. Blair Sullivan sögur sem virðast gjörólíkar til að vekja upp fjarstæðukenndan veruleikann sem fyrirfinnst innra með okkur og umhverfis. Með nýjum veggskúlptúrum og afturhvarfi til viðvarandi gjörningaraðar af staðbundnum teikningum, sækir Wick sér innblástur í þróunarsöguna til að dvelja í samhenginu milli hins náttúrulega og manngerða umhverfis.
R. Blair Sullivan vinnur í fjölbreytta miðla og verk hans, sem einkennast af leikgleði og forvitni, kalla fram hugmyndafræðileg tengsl á milli hinna lífrænu og manngerðu heima. Listrænir miðlar, erkitýpur, goðsagnir og hið hversdagslega eru grandskoðuð og afbyggð til að skapa þvingaðar frásagnir og fjarstæður. Verk hans hafa verið sýnd í Nýlistasafninu, og í New York í MOMA PS1, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Essex Flowers og Van DeWeghe Fine Art.
R. Blair Sullivan býr og starfar í New York.
Harbinger er styrkt af Reykjavíkurborg.
Harbinger welcomes you to the opening of
a solo show by R. Blair Sullivan
August 19th from 6-8 PM
During the opening Sullivan will perform a candle smoke drawing performance featuring sounds by Charlie Dwarf
Wick runs until September 10th
With a research-based, multidisciplinary approach to mark-making, R. Blair Sullivan links seemingly disparate histories to conjure the surreal realities that exist within us and around us. With new wall-based sculptures and a return to an ongoing series of site-specific, performance-based drawings, Wick draws from evolutionary history to relish in the interconnectedness between our biological and built environments.
Two billion years ago, life on earth suffered a mass extinction. Termed The Great Oxygenation, organisms that lived in a carbon dioxide driven atmosphere experienced a dramatic rise in oxygen and could no longer survive. This was a result of the formation of cyanobacteria, the first photosynthetic organisms to produce oxygen. The subsequent development of multicellular life-forms spawned the evolution of humans, including intricate systems of breathing channels called sinuses (which mediate the intake of oxygen). A wall-based sculpture composed of cold porcelain mixed with spirulina (a biomass of cyanobacteria) mimics the organisms’ form, its green color a result of the blue-green algae.
As humans continued to evolve, the control of fire, which requires oxygen to survive, marks one of the most pivotal discoveries in the success of the human race. Soot, a result of fire’s emission of carbon, became a medium used in the first signs of human mark-making. Here, Sullivan draws the medium of soot to humankind’s movement towards sedentary and agrarian ways of life. As fire was brought inside dwellings, air channels were designed in order to exhaust carbon smoke. As a result, chimneys became a part of everyday life and in time, a symbol of our impact on the natural world.
With the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760-1840), the dangers of soot build up became apparent and the profession of cleaning them out is born. A chimney sweep charm installed on the wall makes reference to this trade and the young boys who were employed as apprentices. However barbaric the practices – children often trapped, suffocated or diseased as a result, the profession became a symbol of fortune. Seeing and touching a sweep, or being marked with soot by one is considered good luck, a carbon harbinger. A second wall sculpture takes the form of a chimney’s interior.
This piece is composed of cold porcelain mixed with Geimsa dye, a substance used to photograph chromosomes.
Sullivan draws from a concurrent moment in time in 1831, when chromosomes were first observed in plants, followed two decades thereafter by the discovery of the link between the behavior of chromosomes and hereditary traits in humans. The observation of chromosomes is performed through a type of photography termed a karyotype, in which a chromosome is dyed and photographed under a light microscope. Once organized and arranged in rows, the photographs (or karyograms) can tell us if there are any abnormalities in an organism i.e. an extra chromosome on set 21 is evidence of down syndrome, the last set determines a persons sex. Chromosomes appear in the karyogram as striated lines of black, not unlike the patterns of soot that loom above.
With a return to an ongoing performance-based series of drawings, Sullivan uses a candle’s flame to physically draw on the ceiling of the gallery space. Begun in 2008, the performance of these drawings is reminiscent of our early human development, and act as a dramatization of the etymology of the word photography – drawing with light. The candle, an elegant example of something made (civilization) and the wild (fire) operating in concert.
Here through a process of absorption and translation, the artist acts as a “wick”. The antithesis to a chimney sweep. A person shaped by their built environment attempting to illuminate a portion of our natural world through forced narratives and inscrutable totems of our biological and built histories.
R. Blair Sullivan is a multi-disciplinary artist whose experimental works are playful and inquisitive. His works suggest conceptual connections between our biological and built worlds. Artistic mediums, archetypes, mythologies, and the quotidian are scrutinized and deconstructed to create forced narratives and absurdities. His work has been exhibited at the Reykjavik Living Arts Museum in Iceland and in New York at MOMA PS1, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Essex Flowers, and Van DeWeghe Fine Art. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Harbinger is supported by the City of Reykjavík
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