This project is a reflection on the "subject" both in the sense of a topic and the particular forms of consciousness associated with a person or social condition. I ask "what is the subject" by devising three works that explore different ways of scattering and gathering materials, methods and collaborators. Currents of contemporary art and discussions among anthropologists and cultural theorists flow into these reflections and makings on subjectivity, relationships, art and the senses in this era of digital promiscuity.
The program includes three projects that get at different aspects of subjectivity and subjectness. I developed "Invitation" and "Self Portrait in Place." in 2020-2021, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, while living in Paris." "One and Many" will be presented and remade at the Museum of Riverside, in California in March 2022.
I use this site as a space to exhibit, publish, reflect on and perform the art/experiments as they evolve. I work with a ready-made digital platform, much as I might paint on a pre-stretched canvas. Other iterations of the individual works and the project as a whole will take shape in galleries or in print media as the project continues. Reflecting on how "the subject" changes as it shifts among media and genres of publication and diverse audiences becomes part of the experiment.
This project explores communication, touch and truth. The piece is composed of 33 pieces that I made over several months, then mailed to people around the world. These individual pieces of the single artwork will never meet except on this site, where I diversely configure and refelct on the subject of the art by way of the photographs and texts recipients send to me.
The process of making, sending, receiving the photographs and assembling them has sparked reflections on conceptions of the "full picture, " that I did not imagine when I first concieved "Invitation." I probe the generative capacities of the project design and the questions of subjectivity, be it individual, collective or dispersed.
This project began with an outdoor portrait/parcours
scattered around the Montmartre quarter of Paris.
(Self-Portrait in Montmartre)
From December 10- January 30,
it will move into the Gallery of the American University of Paris
(Self Portrait in Place)
Self Portrait in Montmartre
May 16, 2021
This project makes the Montmartre quarter of Paris a canvas and a frame for an interactive, dynamic self-portrait/landscape. The work was scattered within a kilometer of the apartment where I lived from June 2020 to June 2021 during the COVID pandemic, while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The portrait as parcours twas exhibited on May 16, 2021 . Visitors received a map with twelve sites they could chose to visit in any order. Viewable, palpable, on-site materials were enlivened by slides shows, videos and audio recordings accessible on a cell phone. Participants were invited to make their own recordings and notes about the bits and pieces that made up the scattered portrait.
This self portrait literally mingled its subject (me) with the landscape. frame/calendar of the quarter. Working within the confines of a year, a place and my biography the artwork led me to contemplating questions of time and visibility, surveillance, and the body-self in motion.
Habituellement, les autoportraits sont réalisés seuls, en studio, puis accrochés pour être visionnés dans une exposition ou un musée. J'adopte une approche différente pour ce portrait dans le cadre de mon programme de travail en cours sur les « sujets éparpillés ».
Pour mon portrait, j’inclus l'environnement et le spectateur dans le cadre du processus de composition, qui n'est jamais tout à fait complet, jamais entièrement présent, comme n'importe quel sujet dans une œuvre d'art, ou dans la vie.
Ce travail intègre naturellement les conditions particulières de mouvement restreint et de distanciation sociale au cours des derniers mois pour tout le monde. Il comprend aussi ma découverte et traitement pour un cancer du sein qui a chevauché les mois de pandémie et qui a transformé une visite à Paris en une migration de retour provisoire.
One and Many
The final project in this series explores collective and composite subjects. At a time when people are beginning to meet in public places again, "One and Many" will be a large public artwork that instigates an active, collective reflection on the body and the body politic, self and community and the the part to the whole.
On March 3, 2022 I will exhibit a 25 foot long painting of a poppy field across the front of the Riverside Museum. The work will be composed of over 100 individual artworks. Viewers who attend the "opening" of the one-work exhibition during the city's monthly art walk will be invited to select one of these individual works to bring home with them. In return, they will fill in the empty space on the canvas revealed by removing their artwork. Viewers will thus become collectors and participants.
Why poppies? Poppies are among the first flowers to burst into bloom in spring. In California there are entire parks dedicated to the huge hillside tapestries they weave with their petals.
In this work, I celebrate this beautiful if fleeting bloom, along with other properties and symbolic meanings of the fragile flower. Poppies have been associated with spring fields and life since antiquity, so too their narcotic properties. They symbolize fertility and life, dream states and death. Since WWI red poppies have been worn in English speaking countries to honor veterans. Trade in the products of the poppy were at the center of the colonial Opium wars in China. Today, in Afghanistan, and around the world, farmers uproot food crops to plant opium poppies to survive. ( for more click here)
On-site ethnographers will explore the making of the work and talk to participants. Later, they will follow up with them to see how the scattered artworks have taken root int their lives. When someone contemplates the piece they hang in their living room, does the original painting persists as an after-image? Does that memory reactivate thoughts about "one and many" ?