TQM • 2021 • Graphite on paper • 14 x 14 in
Sin titulo • 2021 • Graphite on paper • 14 x 14 in
Luna • 2021 • Graphite on paper • 14 x 14 in
Cultura mágica • 2021 • Graphite on paper • 14 x 14 in
Fuego • 2021 • Graphite on paper • 14 x 14 in
Repetition means a/void
By Re’al Christian
anaphora's not there, even when epistrophe and epiphora are displaced. repetition is dis place/meant, too, and sometimes almost means avoid, as in the case of fold tending not to turn toward self-enveloping. it's like a repeated end making up so insistently for the absence of its repeated beginning that beginning come out to show them in the end.
Repetition of physical and rhetorical beginnings and endings inform the exhibition Repetition means a/void. Featuring the work of Amra Causevic and Simón Ramirez, the show considers how repetitive acts of meaningful accumulation form new modes of belonging to or existing within the space of language. Both artists employ reused or re-rendered objects and images to illustrate the inarticulable—the limits of language, of being without or between languages; the repetitive use of familiar images, objects, and sounds offers alternative means of communication.
Amra Causevic’s installations can be seen as a living archive—objects accumulated over time, often embedded into vessels or manipulated, reference moments of commute, movement, and migration. They comprise found items, gifts, and refuse thrown away by anonymous others or by the artist herself. The objects presented in Repetition means a/void are compiled from items collected in transit between the artist’s home, her place of work, and her studio. Despite the repetitive nature of this route, she witnesses change, even in the familiar: a common course or a repeated pathway can undergo small, imperceptible variations over time, creating deviations from the norm. The balance between the familiar and the unknown opens unique opportunities for play; each object can be touched and activated.
In finding new uses for these ready-made objects, Causevic considers the thin divide between what is saved and what is discarded, how the ecological impact of an object factors into its obsolesce, and how some objects are crafted to be dispensable, replaceable, and thus commodifiable. The process of discarding objects ties directly into the artist’s practice of assembly; Causevic’s family emigrated during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s, living in several countries and leaving many objects behind before settling in the United States. Through the careful accumulation of visual data, the artist questions how material possessions can articulate abstract concepts of home, being, and belonging.
Simón Ramirez constructs language through aggregated visual information. In his works Cultura magica, TQM, Fuego, Untitled, and Luna, the artist translates what he refers to as “found images”—photographs and film stills, illustrations and graffiti—to drawings on paper, configuring new, often random associations between disparate pieces of visual information. In this process, he formulates a syntax based on visual rhymes and dissonance. The drawings recreate the low- fi, lossy quality of the images that inspired them.
They demonstrate something lost in translation, the gap between the original and the facsimile, which the artist likens to the delayed simultaneity of transmitted media images in countries like his native Colombia.
Ramirez leaves enough data to allude to an object or image’s original form but presents it in a new context, making the subject matter simultaneously familiar yet difficult to define. While the drawings build new visual vocabularies, they reveal the limitations of language, as processes of meaning-making rely on interrelated, interdependent, interwoven fragments of information. Ramirez equates this process of visual mistranslation with the experience of migration; the use of language morphs through estrangement while exploring the poetic potential of misunderstanding. The slippages between drawing and image, image and object, object and name, create a critical framework, conveying a double consciousness—this multivalent understanding, or necessary multiplicity of sensory perceptions, engenders the experience of “unlanguaging,”2 of losing language, and of building language anew.
Together, Causevic and Ramirez conjure ephemeral relationships between memory and place, movement and dwelling, mobility and stasis. Each artist considers the experience, formulation, and deconstruction of language, making poetic use of displaced and amalgamated objects to construct new visual lexicons.
1. Fred Moten, “epistrophe and epistrophy,” perennial fashion presence falling (Seattle and New York: Wave Books, 2023), 95.
2. See Jesse Chun, “An Index for Unlanguaging,” www.jessechun.com/words. See also Rey Chow, Not Like a Native Speaker: On Languaging as a Postcolonial Experience (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).
Repetition means a/void
Curated by Re’al Christian
In conjunction with the work of Amra Causevic
Presented at Parent Company Gallery
June 19 - July 30