TD Press Kit Working.Indd (2024)

CRITICS’ PICKS Trisha Donnelly MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY | Los Angeles September 26–November 7 by Olivian Cha

Trisha Donnelly, Untitled, 2015, gelatin silver print on ilford paper, 10 x 9 7/8".

In Trisha Donnelly’s work the deferral of meaning has become an aesthetic operation—one that extends beyond the site of display and into the systems of production and distribution that surround, and often define, the work of art. While one could identify the works in the show as photographs, videos, and drawings, the artist seems less concerned with anchoring art- works in their about-ness as much as suspending meaning in the margins of what is formally “on view.” Here, unceremoni- ous gestures—an exposed back door left slightly ajar or the hardcover book propping up a projector, for instance—become heavy with potential significance, occasionally inducing frustration but also moments of sublimity. The most poignant example is found in a black tarp that loosely covers a single skylight—the gallery’s main light source. Controlled by the unpredictable choreography of wind, sunlight illuminates the room as wavy flicker or trapezoidal planes.

If the drastic shifts of light and raw borders of her photographs and projections emphasize the periphery, the edges of Donnel- ly’s works embody a kind of softness and viscosity. In the frenzied vibrations and globular shapes, the artist’s videos convey the liquid qualities of photographic emulsions and running water—the delicate tremor between darkness and exposure. There is also light jazz. Playing from a speaker-system inelegantly located in a back corner of the gallery, the exhibition’s buoyant soundtrack recalls the cinema of Jacques Tati, set here against airport seats and the video April, 2013, a work that manifests the frenetic rhythm of Paul Sharits’s flicker films but features geometric and diagrammatic forms evoking the electric insides of a sentient scanner. At some point the music momentarily shifts from pleasant melody to a strange spectral noise with sonar frequencies, locating us somewhere between the deep sea and the celestial unknown.

Cha, Olivian, “Critics’ Picks”, Art Forum (Online), October 20, 2015 5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. this Week By Catherine Wagley Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A dab of sunshine There’s no press release for Trisha Donnelly’s current exhibition at Matthew Marks (the artist rarely releases information about her shows). What you see when you enter the gallery is a minimal, rectangular video involving moving water. It’s projected be- hind the front desk, and the whole space is mostly dark. Most of the skylights in the main gallery are covered to make it easier to see the off-kilter video, which sometimes resembles a landscape, sometimes a computer program. But periodically, wind will blow up the tarp covering one of the skylights and sunlight will stream in. It's fleetingly thrilling, as it is when clouds part on a stormy day. 1062 N. Orange Grove, West Hollywood; through Nov. 7. (323) 654-1830,

Wagley, Catherine, “5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. this Week”, LA Weekly (Online), October 14, 2015 From Oslo with love: Erling Kagge's art collection goes on show ART/ 1 JUN 2015 /BY WESSIE DU TOIT

Kagge has a special affinity for artist Trisha Donnelly. Pictured here is 'Untitled' (2007), 'Enamel on fabric,' and 'Portikus, Frankfurt am Main' installation (2010). Photograph courtesy of Astrup Fearnley Museum. Around the waterfront in Oslo, you can experience what the director of Norway’s Institute for Contemporary Art has called the city’s ‘dynamic moment’. Scaffolding signals a new wave of cultural destinations that will join existing gems such as the Opera House, the ambitious Eke- berg sculpture park, and a high concentration of artist-run spaces.

Beside the Oslofjord is the sweeping glass roof of the Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum, which now houses an intriguing collection of contemporary art, titled Love Story. It belongs to Arctic explorer, lawyer, publisher, and all-round thrill-seeker Erling Kagge.

Having sailed repeatedly across the Atlantic, conquered the ‘Three Poles’ - North, South, and the summit of Everest - and reached the cover of Time magazine, Kagge began to seek chal- lenges from the world of art. The result is a collection that emphasises youthful anarchy, pop euphoria, and probing post-conceptual artists.

Kagge’s collection includes comprehensive bodies of Raymond Pettibon, Franz West, Tauba Auerbach, Trisha Donnelly, Sergej Jenson, Klara Lidén and Wolfgang Tillmans. In a book he has published for the exhibition, A Poor Collector’s Guide to Buying Great Art, Kagge compares col- lecting to his exploits as an explorer. He likes to gamble on artists early in their careers, buying them in big quantities, and moving on when they become established.

The main theme of Kagge’s collection is not a theme at all, but an unresolved quality. ‘I find it difficult to love what I understand. Great art to me is strange’, he says, ‘I strongly believe you sometimes have to break rules to feel free’. He likes artists who embody their work, and has a special affinity for Trisha Donnelly: ‘It is as though her personality has taken form’.

While most people who turn to collecting because they’ve done everything else have terrible taste, Kagge’s boldness and curiosity have served him well.

Du Toit, Wessie, “From Oslo with Love: Erling Kagge’s Art Collection Goes on Show”, Wallpaper (online), June 1, 2015.

NUMBER TEN: TRISHA DONNELLY February 7—August 2, 2015

The JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION is pleased to present, in its eighth year, its tenth exhibition with a selection of works by US-American artist Trisha Donnelly (born 1974).

The presentation comprises works from the collection ranging from moving image, photography, sound installation to sculpture. The ensemble is creating a space saturated with a potential for transformations and reconfigurations of the senses, of realities. In continually fluid interactions between the material and the immaterial Donnelly generates moments of absolute concentration.

For press material and images please use the following download link:



Press and Public Relations JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION Monika Kerkmann Schanzenstrasse 54 40549 Düsseldorf, Germany Tel.: +49 (0) 211/ 58 58 84-12 [emailprotected]

March 13, 2015

Trisha Donnelly

AIR DE PARIS, Paris January 17- March 14, 2015

No text? At Air de Paris, the press release is nowhere to be seen. This recognizable signature of Trisha Donnelly’s exhibitions is one of various measures to limit the documentation of her work: show and work titles are absent in the gallery space, and the dissemination of images outside it is very limited. This operation challenges a certain routine use of textuality as portal to interpretation. By forcing the viewer to move away from this process, the artist creates the conditions for the autonomy of the exhibition as experience. Stripped of text, the works are barren, and writing about them causes an embarrassing feeling of nudity. Nonetheless, these works call for a certain referentiality, but we have to look into the unbound, slimy matter of our memory in order to activate it.

On the night of the opening, viewers strolled in the dim, blueish light of Trisha Donnelly’s videos, the droning chatter of the crowd intertwining with reiterative pings coming from one of them, located at the back of the gallery. Amid the shadows, a drawing on paper (all works untitled; all works 2014) was difficult to discern—a stirrup, or perhaps a stirrup bone. Somebody suggested to come back during the day.

Another vision. Light passed through a glass door and the drawing’s lines of graphite became visible. The sound was clear in the gallery; all the colors were different. The significance of the light was tangible. The luminescence of the projected images revealed a structure within the gallery’s architectural planes, just as light, in photographic processing, reveals an image. The images shuffled between a set of visible and invisible layers, reminiscent of one another like bodies are reminiscent of phantom limbs.

In the first video, a stream of clouds fades into a backwash of ripples in a trapezoid frame, like an inclined plane mirroring the sky. The same motif is reiterated on the rear wall of the gallery in a wide projected frame with rounded corners, calling to mind a rear-view mirror perspective. The animation of cloud and foam is pasted on top of a pixelated image of white, serpentine shapes, interspersing a long, black-and-white sequence showing an automated “dip-and-dunk” machine in progress, mechanically processing strips of film. The movement of spume, repeating itself in a vertical scroll, unveils the images underneath, echoing the work of the machine’s chemical baths. Like a parallel axis of mirrors bookending the exhibition, the two videos refract blind images of a nonexistent sky, generating a complex field of reverberation of the gaze in the gallery space. In between these two works, three looped animations feature abstract figures in movement: silvery lumps spreading, stretches of pearly lines twitching. The images remain flat but contain circular movements, rolling an undefined subject in and out. The motion within a still frame generates the appearance of a living process and gives the image an organic quality.

One of these videos features the evolution and transformation of this material substance over a misty violet mountainscape. The gray frame supersedes it and then shrinks to the size of a thumbnail, moving around in a quirky journey over the landscape. Appearing sporadically, it blinks, alters, and proceeds in tune with the pings of its soundtrack, like hints to a riddle. The composition recalls the rear-view of the cloud videos, but in an inverted way, as if it were an abstract organic form over an image of a landscape. It generates the opposite perception, as the gaze doesn’t rebound; the images are centrifugal, focusing our intention on a repeating question that is impossible to answer.

Another vision, this time a projected still image at the center of the exhibition, which stands out like an altar in a cathedral. It invests the full height of the space with abstract shapes resembling parts of a camera. Traces like the pattern of marbling paper appear in the background and the iridescence of the pictured objects generates a beautiful gradation of colours. As in most of Donnelly’s works, the shapes are elegant and delightful, but convey an eeriness in the difficulty of identifying the objects. All the images appear as provisional, like the gaseous state of water in the clouds, the foam, and the mist present throughout the exhibition. Liquidity connects the photographic and organic processes within the field of image production. In nature, foam and clouds are created when water is in contact with other matters, “impurities” so to speak: Donnelly’s images stand at a threshold between an ethereal trajectory towards the sublime and the sliminess of their dirt and liquids. Her methodology is not necessarily to provide the viewer with an awareness of what is being watched; rather, to cause an awareness of the subjects’ instability in the experience of seeing.

Sirieix, Barbara. Trisha Donnelly, Art Agenda, March 13, 2015, CRITICS PICKS Trisha Donnelly

AIR DE PARIS 32 rue Louise Weiss January 17–March 14, 2015

Trisha Donnelly, Untitled, 2014, projection, dimensions variable.

With her mostly mute recent projections it becomes clear that noise is no mere synonym for sound for Trisha Don- nelly but a constitutive aspect of any transmission. Featuring untitled works from this year and the last, this exhibi- tion comprises six projections united by formal resonances and a hypnotic restructuring of time; their ambient light provides the only illumination for a single, demure drawing. Within the darkness glimmers a subtle approach to thinking through technological media and their relationship to language and experience.

In the longest of the looping videos we may recognize an outmoded “dip-and-dunk” film processor in action. That the dark, grainy footage paradoxically exposes the darkroom clearly appeals to Donnelly, whose show is punctu- ated by similar cognitive blips and flashes. Wave and cloud forms dominate, evoking analogies for signal and noise respectively. Crisp moving images are superimposed on low-resolution stills. Moiré patterns screen foggy valleys.

According to Hubert Damisch, clouds expose the limits of linear perspective as a representational system for painting. As a sign, the cloud’s lack of definable surface evades geometric description but is well suited to brush- work and the physical substance of paint. Donnelly is onto something similar with the way she sutures together vaguely photographic and cinematic materials in her projections. Her motifs are emblems of dynamic change. Unintended effects transfigure the signifier when it is filtered through the apparatuses that render technical images, loosening it from its representational function—as in the flash of light that solarizes a photograph developing in the darkroom. Interference becomes a generator of new forms. These days, we surf and save to the cloud with hardly a thought. In Donnelly’s luminous spaces, we’re left to our own devices to craft new metaphors for the information we register.

—Phil Taylor

Taylor, Phil. “Critics Picks; Trisha Donnelly,” Artforum, February 11, 2015, Online. vol 66 no 7

Trisha Donnelly

The San Francisco-born artist is a virtuoso strategist, finessing the slow reveal (or, indeed, no reveal) to deliver work that is portentous, charged and enigmatic

by Martin Herbert

Late in 2007, I went repeatedly to Tate But then methodically parsing the Modern’s exhibition The World as a Stage, actions, objects and images proffered by the primarily to see one small black-and-white forty-year-old, San Francisco-born Donnelly, photograph — or, rather, a series of 31 small who has now returned to London to London black-and-white photographs presented with a solo exhibition at the Serpentine one at a time and, as per the artist’s Galleries, is not really the point. Thinking instructions, rotated daily: Trisha Donnelly’s about them as interacting systemic units and The Redwood and the Raven (2004). The conjectures about shaped reality, the fungible experience of this staggered, witchy display, nature of space and time, and the strictures which documents the headscarf-wearing of art reception is more fruitful. Hers is a dancer Frances Flannery performing, against chess-playing art, one of timing and artfully a tree in a forest, a dance called ‘The mobilised viewer psychology; or at least that’s Raven’, choreographed to Edgar Allen Poe’s where it starts. In her New York solo debut eponymous 1845 poem, was borderline The Redwood and the Raven (detail), at Casey Kaplan in 2002, Donnelly rode into perverse: you couldn’t grasp the moves, hear the poem or the opening on a white horse, dressed in Napoleonic garb, precisely remember the previous images you saw, so that the and, acting as ersatz courier, delivered the oration that the additive melded continually with the subtractive. (The raven French emperor supposedly should have given at the Battle in the poem famously answers queries with ‘nevermore’.) of Waterloo: ‘If it need be termed surrender, then let it be so, You wanted more, aware that the more you got would for he has surrendered in word, not will. He has said, “My fall equate to less. This, I already knew, was the American artist’s will be great but it will be useful.” The emperor has fallen and conceptual wheelhouse: earlier that year, in Manchester, he rests his weight upon your mind and mine and with this I I’d seen her deliver a drum-pounding, soprano-screaming, am electric. I am electric.’ (Eyewitness critic Jerry Saltz wrote incantatory performance, The Second Saint, at Hans Ulrich that here Donnelly ‘stole my aesthetic heart’, while reckoning Obrist’s and Philippe Parreno’s performance-art extravaganza that the performance rather outweighted the show itself.) Il Tempo del Postino, a fully confident yet, for all its noise, By 2005, Donnelly didn’t even require a real horse; muted display, ending with the fall of four black obelisks, stage-managed rumour was enough. At the opening of that resides in my memory as a roaring blank abstraction. a show at the KÖlnischer Kunstverein celebrating a ma- jor artist’s prize she’d won, word ‘got around’ that another also diffuse. Her sculptures involving carving into quartzite, steed was waiting somewhere in the institution, that Donnelly she’s said relate to ‘the enacting of processes of loss in geological would perform — and the artist, curator Beatrix Ruf remembers, time: entertain that, and millennia fall away as you look. left the preview dinner a few times to reinforce the idea. It never happened, but the very possibility coloured the event. This, Or, rather, they might. Again, it’s characteristic of in microcosm, is what Suzanne Cotter has called Donnelly’s Donnelly’s art that one simultaneously falls under the spell ideal of the ‘uncontrived encounter,’ something Donnelly and has a sense, related to critique, of how the spell is herself calls ‘natural use’ and which is the carefully controlled cast. What’s likely is that no spell at all, or at best a pale outcome of so much of her work (which, in a gesture of imperial shadow of a spell, is cast if this art is received secondhand, defeat that is also a gift, then abdicates control): a process that, though the description may sound hyperbolic, comes and here her work twists uncharacteristically polemical. closer to a suggestion of opening up space and time, with In an age where so much art is experienced — if that’s visibly disproportionate means, than almost any of Donnelly’s even the word — through online aggregators and through contemporaries. See, for example, Hand That Holds the documentation, Donnelly’s art insists on being taken in real Desert Down (2002), in which a black-and-white detail of time and real space, so that it can ask what those things one of the paws of the Great Sphinx at Giza flips, via titling, even arc It’s presumably to this end that she has given up into a vertiginous recasting of gravitational reality, though a doing interviews - we asked, and were politely rebuffed; a proposition whose supporting wires are blatantly evident. 2010 in-gallery interview she did with Anthony Huberman apparently most often features the response ‘pass,’ with Donnelly’s art has Donnelly playing tracks from her prowled, avoiding resolution, iPod in lieu of other answers — around stomy transcendence from while her catalogues don’t usually the outset: the first work of hers I feature essays and her press remember seeing (and not being particularly struck by: her work has releases can veer strongly away to accrete in the mind) was Untitled from the interpretative. when a (Jumping) (1999), made before she visitor attending her 2002 Kaplan graduated from Yale in 2000, in how requested more info, he or she which she imitates, while moving would be played some electronic in and out of the video frame, a beats. The PR handout for her variety of musicians in states of poised, codified-feeling 2010 musical rapture. Her art since, exhibition at Portikus, Frankfurt, which encompasses soundworks, with its sequence of leaning incised actions, lectures, drawings, marble reiiefs, drawings and video, sculpture, photography and more purports to be a press text but is a list of titles and media. video, continually stresses the possibility of - to quote the Bard

- there being more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our This matters: one might wish it to be exemplary, philosophy. Or in our artworld, which has a schizoid relationship nowadays to the esoteric and occult, liking it when historical — except that it is turf that Donnelly almost owns and that, to Hilma af Klint, say — but not so much when offered without irony mix metaphors, would become hackneyed fast. So much or a sense that certain ancient fires haven’t yet gone out. The art today, as we’re all aware, comes with an accompanying thematic framework Donnelly has set up charges even her most explanation that actively disarms the viewing experience, outwardly slim works with electricity and expansive portent. The rationalises it, and rationalising appears to be the last Napoleon theme, for example, continued in The Vortex (2003), thing Donnelly wants: her art, in its myriad margin-directed which featured a recording of the Slavyanka Russian Men’s speculations, says there’s too much of that already, and Chorus singing Lermontov’s poem ‘Borodino’ (1837), named not enough that, to paraphrase that horseriding ensign, after a gruesome battle of the Napoleonic wars. What this added really rests its weight upon your mind and mine. Think was perhaps just another line of code, though it also aimed at for a second about how few artists actually sustain this an experience of synaesthesia (see the anticipatory text ‘The quality of tactical, shape-changing surprise and risk. David Vortex Notes,’ 2002, which advised following the highest male Hammons would be one, Lutz Bacher another; there are not voice and feeling it ‘compress like a photograph’) and dragged that many others. Meanwhile galleries and fairs clog with a vast historical event into the artwork’s orbit, resituating it in the twenty-first century as a question that is particular and frictionless production lines. Donnelly operates, conversely, a continual transitive process, new works adjusting old ones, the full picture held back: Black Wave, a 2002 photograph of a wave about to crest, feels like it might be metonymic both in its minimal ominousness and its forceful incompletion.

The last time Trisha Donnelly stole this viewer’s aesthetic heart was in Berlin, at KW Institute’s 2012-3 exhibition One on One, in which viewers were permitted solo encounters with works of art. Commandeering a high floor, Donnelly presented a suspended sculpture, a big, steel-framed, partly cracked tray held up with aeroplane cables, like a perpetual enigmatic experiment. I remember low lighting, I remember the variable tilting of the oblique tray and water in it, but mostly I remember that characteristic quality of insistent wordless proposition: disbelief suspended, the author as artist erased and replaced, prospectively, with, someone or something arcane and anxiety- making, and then the figure of Donnelly, manipulating the murky theatrics, returning to mind. As I write, several weeks before the Serpentine show’s opening, the gallery website is playing a press release for the forthcoming show that features, unsurprisingly, no mention of any work; the press office informs us that Donnelly ‘will transform the Serpentine’s spaces through the use of objects and interventions, with newly conceived sculptural and perfomative pieces.’ More than that? Pass. Nevermore. Cue beats.

An exhibition of work by Trisha Donnelly is on view at the Serpentine Gallery, London, though 9 November.

Herbert, Martin. “Trisha Donnelly,” ArtReview, vol 66 no 7, October 2014, SFMOMA Presents Solo Exhibition of Trisha Donnelly

Exhibition dates: March 09 - June 02, 2013

Release date: March 13, 2013

From March 9 through June 2, 2013, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present New Work: Trisha Donnelly, the artist’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco. Working across a wide range of media—video, sound, photography, drawing, and sculpture—Donnelly gives optical and sonic expression to that which lies just beyond the reach of visual intelligibility but is felt and present nonetheless. This exhibition, spanning two of SFMOMA’s second-floor galleries, features new videos by Donnelly, shown here for the first time, that she has been working on for several years. In addition, a continu- ally changing audio form is included titled The Shield (2007 – ongoing). In the videos, she forges a cycle fluctuating between still and moving states in an attempt to “bend motion into object.”

The exhibition is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, former assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA and now curator of modern and contem- porary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Trisha Donnelly, Untitled, 2013; Courtesy About Trisha Donnelly the artist; © Trisha Donnelly Born in San Francisco in 1974, Trisha Donnelly received a BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1995 and an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2000. She recently curated Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the tenth iteration of the Artist’s Choice series. She has had solo exhibitions at Air de Paris, Paris; Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York; Eva Presenhuber Gallery, Zurich; Portikus, Frankfurt; the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; The Renaissance Society, Chicago; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; Modern Art Oxford; Artpace, San Antonio; and Kunsthalle Zürich. Over the last decade, she has par- ticipated in many group exhibitions, including Documenta 13; ILLUMInations, 54th Venice Biennale; The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center; Il Tempo del Postino, Manchester and Basel, among others.

About SFMOMA’s New Work Series

From its inception in 1987, SFMOMA’s New Work series was conceived as an important vehicle for the advancement of new art forms. Artists such as Matthew Barney, Marilyn Minter, and Christopher Wool were given their first solo mu- seum exhibitions through the program. Over the ensuing decade, New Work featured artists such as Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Tatsuo Miyajima, Doris Salcedo, Luc Tuymans, Kara Walker, and Andrea Zittel, among many others. After a four-year hiatus, SFMOMA reintroduced the New Work series in 2004 and has since showcased work by Richard Aldrich, Phil Collins, Vincent Fecteau, Rachel Harrison, Lucy McKenzie, Wangechi Mutu, Anna Parkina, Mai-Thu Per- ret, R. H. Quaytman, Mika Rottenberg, Felix Schramm, Ranjani Shettar, Paul Sietsema, Katharina Wulff, and Alessandro Pessoli.

After June 2, 2013, when SFMOMA will temporarily close its building for construction on the museum’s expansion proj- Origin Myth SARAH K. RICH ON TRISHA DONNELLY AT MoMA

TAKE ALFRED H. BARR JR.’S famous flowchart of Cubist ca. 1946 (displayed near the floor) and a glass vase from and abstract art, ca . 1936, and bend it back so that it 1978 (displayed on its side to look like a glistening eyeball makes a long cylinder. Make sure the edges overlap a bit proceeding through space, trailing its optic nerve like a so Redon (that hermetic sensualist whom Barr shoved over comet’s tail). Anachronistic stowaways that have been hid- to the sinister side of his graph, and whose influence he ing in MOMA storage rooms for years have been brought reduced to a dotted line) and Rousseau (the outsider whose out and made to shake hands w ith Donnelly’s mystica l hard edges somehow qualified him for positioning on the modernism: A small, round Coptic tapestry from the sev- right-hand side, above the hyperrational Constructivists) lie enth or eighth century rhymes in both spirit and form with one atop the other. Take a long pin (ideally an Art Nouveau the floating orbs of a Frantisek Kupka painting and with sev- hatpin from 1900 that was made of a new metal alloy later eral large, colorful diagrams of microchips, whose dizzying essential for the production of satellites) and pierce the and symmetrical depictions of circuitry work, under Don- cylinder at the Redon-Rousseau intersection. Push through nelly’s comparative power, as psychedelic technomandalas. until the pointy end comes out at the dense cluster of lines Walking through the exhibit, the viewer, like the where Orphism is snuggling up to such utopian develop- hypothetical hatpin, traces slanted, oblique trajectories ments as De Stij l, Suprematism, and the Machine Aesthet- through the museum, even as she strikes through the core ic. The objects in “Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly” at the of the place: The three galleries Donnelly chose were on Museum of Modern Art in New York can be plotted along opposite ends of the museum and on two floors, so to visit that hatpin. the different spaces the viewer passes through, and thus In Donnelly’s installation, objects of utopian connects, the center of the museum with the weird stuff disappointments and expired modernities are staged in the artist exhibits on the edges. Donnelly also establishes dense juxtapositions meant (seemingly without irony) to a four-dimensional vector through MOMA’S eccentricities encourage their reinvigoration. Items drawn with enthusiasm and central traditions by way of the recorded audio tour. from the museum’s usually repressed stores of Symbolist When visitors enter Donnelly’s galleries with guides pressed painting, ornithological photography, and finde-siecle deco- to their ears, they are not privy to explanations of the show rative arts share exhibition space with oncefuturistic design by the artist or by the curators Laura Hoptman and Cara specimens such as a pair of polarized sunglasses from Manes; rather, they hear the congeni a l voice of

View of “Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly,” 2012-13, Museum of Eliot Porter, Osprey, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, Modern Art, New York. 1976, dye transfer print, 15 x 12”.

MARCH 2013

109 Robert Rosenblum as he leads museumgoers through the rooms of MaMA’s 1980 Picasso retrospective in a record- ing created for that show. Listening to Rosenblum’s languid observations about Two Women at a Bar, 1902, while star- ing at Eliot Porter’s photographs of birds in Donnelly’s insta llation, the viewer suffers vertigo in the profound temporal disconnect enacted between the seen and the heard. The viewer is also haunted by the spaces of institutions past: In the floor plan of the post-2004 MoMA, the Gallery 4 about which Rosenblum spoke no longer exists-it is not the Gal- lery 4 in which Donnelly is exhibiting Porter’s photographs, yet the art historian’s voice makes the two spaces eerily coexist. Archetypal themes and forms pass through and link the three galleries, too. T his is where the exhibi tion makes an operatic show of art’s strain for triumph and os- tentatious defeat-a binary that has obsessed Donnelly ever since she appeared at Casey Kaplan gallery on horseback ten years ago to announce the surrender of Napoleon. The belief in universal archetypes alone expresses an expired

The exhibition makes an operatic show of art’s strain for triumph and ostentatious defeat. idea, but the specific archetypes she chooses tend to dramatize art’s sway between heroic yearning and fai lure. Take, for example, the figure of the pyramid, which recurs from Massimo Scolari’s delicate depiction of a floating pyramid to the triangular motifs of a Bruce Conner inkblot drawing to two black pyramidal air ionizers from the 1980s (one from the MoMA collection, the other purchased by the artist for inclusion in the show, where it is plugged in and purifies the room). These triangular solids act as cryptic keys with which one may unlock the exh ibition. The pyramid’s soaring tip versus its solid weighty base, its aspiration for immortality versus its rootedness in death- these establish the axis of both transcendence and col- lapse around which objects of the show pivot. Hence the room of Porter’s photographs showing birds either nesting or in flight; hence Alessandro Becchi’s Anfibio Convertible Couch, 1971, lying prostrate beside Joe Goode’s stairway. Needless to say, such urgent symbolism is breathtakingly sill y. Yet the exhibition manages to dazzle; it overwhelms (and maybe even uplifts) the viewer with the brilliant beauty of its overreaching. And with this exhibit Donnelly legiti- mately cha llenges (even as she enacts) Hegel’s declaration that art, after a certain point (after the fall of Napoleon, as a matter of fact), no longer establishes a world in the highest sense. Who could have imagined that MoMA would be the place from which to excavate such Delphic possibilities? And now, how can one see that museum in any other light?

Rich, Sarah K., “Origin Myth,” Artforum, Vol. 51 No. 7, March 2013, p. 109 Saltz, Jerry “The Best of the Basem*nt” New York Magazine Online, December 9, 2012. The Best of the Basem*nt Rooting through MoMA’s century of deep storage for her “Artist’s Choice” show, Trisha Donnelly reveals herself.

Odilon Redon, Rocks on the Beach (ca. 1883) Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York I don’t often go to curator or artist walk-throughs of exhibitions. For a critic, it feels like cheating. I want to see shows with my own eyes, making my own mistakes, viewing exhibitions the way most of their audience sees them. Fresh. But I wouldn’t have missed Trisha Donnelly’s magical tour of her brilliantly visionary artist-choice exhibition, now up at MoMA. For me, Don- nelly is a rare case of artistic love at first sight—one I still haven’t gotten over, even though her work can be abstruse and hard to parse. I admire her work so much I’ve never spoken to her, afraid I’d act like some dorky fanboy.

My Donnelly love bloomed at 7 p.m. on April 5, 2002, when she rode into Casey Kaplan’s 14th Street gallery on a white horse. She was costumed like some Napoleonic messenger. The small crowd stood agog as she gave a brief speech, ending with “The emperor has fallen, and he rests his weight upon your mind and mine, and with this I am electric. I am electric.” By the time she rode out into the night, I was smitten. As it happens, Laura Hoptman, a MoMA curator, had been similarly dazzled by another Donnelly performance. “I was hooked irredeemably,” she later wrote, adding, “This kind of artist love is rare for me.” She eventually invited Donnelly to curate this show.

For the opening, a week after Donnelly had reportedly lost her home and much of her work to Hurricane Sandy, the artist came to MoMA and explained to a very small group of lucky onlookers, including me, how she chose what she chose out of the museum’s vast collection. She said she was after “striking voices I couldn’t let go of … paths of encounters and building poetic structures … images that go beyond the images themselves.” One of the three permanent-collection galleries she’s filled is devoted to the little-known mid-century photographer Eliot Porter, who shot birds with cameras and techniques of his own invention. (He also documented newborn spiders and the life cycle of the mosquito.) Calling Porter “an amazing weirdo,” Donnelly pointed at pictures of birds feeding their young, nesting, and in mid-flight, and said, “That birds still exist now is a miracle. The speed of their lives is so different from ours … There’s such an insanity and logic of birds.” Insanity and logic together are keys to Donnelly’s aesthetic. Pointing at a picture I hadn’t noticed before, she said, “That hummingbird is a heroic force.” I looked. Boom! It became a tiny god. Gesturing at a barn swallow twisting in midair, she observed, “Every bird Porter saw was a path … when he shot images, lines between him and the bird exploded.”

Profuse paths, lines, and explosions ricochet in this exhibition. On the way into one of the galleries, Donnelly has placed a 1955 George Platt Lynes photograph of a naked man, seen from behind as he’s looking at an image. The rear end is perfect. At his hip is a cushion depicting a devil’s face. The artwork this Adonis looks at resembles a mirror. In fact, it’s a painting by Russian surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew, whose Hide-and-Seek was once among the most popular images in MoMA’s collection. It’s a tip-off to her thinking, a clue to understanding the show. Tchelitchew has fallen out of art-historical favor, and his work lives mainly in storage. Donnelly is plumbing ideas of unsanctioned and hom*oerotic beauty, and of unseen, forgotten, and overlooked art.

Another of her galleries contains a number of large grid images. I thought at first that they were minimalist drawings, or may- be drawings by the insane. It turns out these cosmic-looking diagrams are renditions from the mid-eighties of silicon micro- processors. Donnelly described them as “movements of paths of thought.” I gasped, and saw the warp of the world tapestry in them, maps that would contain multitudes, change life, move information at unimagined speeds, and create unfathomable possibilities. These drawings aren’t just invention or innovation. They’re great art.

Near those diagrams is a radiant 1938 painting by a forgotten American, Patrick J. Sullivan, a picture of figures standing on some forlorn orb looking up at a Van Gogh sky filled with shooting stars, planets, and other galactic phenomena. Donnelly talked about this painting “of the Holy Grail of art, the rotation of the planets, including the one you’re looking at and standing on.” I looked. She’s right.

In the remaining gallery are moments of aesthetic ecstasy. I sighed aloud at an intense, awkward 1942 masterpiece by Mars- den Hartley that hasn’t been on view since MoMA was rebuilt. This impenetrable painting of white waves crashing on brown rocks as black clouds drift in a sooty sky reminds me why Hartley is my favorite prewar twentieth-century American artist.

Then another work I’d rarely seen: a waist-high 1966 carpeted object by lesser-known Joe Goode. It looks just like a stair- case. Your parents would surely say, “Honey, this isn’t art, is it?” As Donnelly marveled that Goode had fabricated “a fact,” I saw this work in ways I’d never seen it before. In shows like Donnelly’s, we see the tantalizing tips of enormous artistic icebergs, representative pieces that open multiple visual thought-structures. As I’ve said in the past, MoMA didn’t appor- tion nearly enough space in its new building for its vital permanent collection. Bravo to Donnelly and the curators for fighting against their building’s infuriating limitations with electric efforts like this.

By Jerry Saltz

Artist’s Choice: Trisha Donnelly Museum of Modern Art. Through April 8. TRISHA DONNELLY Cotter, Suzanne, M.O., The Hugo Boss Prize (Catalogue), 2012, p. 14-24. M.O.

Suzanne Cotter

The artist Trisha Donnelly does not believe in “expressiveness.” Her work is a dictation, without function, for which ordinary de- scription becomes problematic, an overburdening with meaning of something that demands a different type of record. By way of the visual, the spoken, the aural, and the temporal, Donnelly registers states that are beyond cognition but no less physical or real. In the place of images and objects, she offers up pro- visional forms and space-time scenarios. Presentations of work take the form of remnants that combine the solemnity of ritual and speculative projection associated with the incommensurable aspects of the natural and phenomenal world. It is a practice of agitating forces, an extravagant theater of portentous glamour that, at times, lurches into punk burlesque. `Donnelly’s interventions into the visual or aural sphere are about a type of presence that aspires to what the artist calls “natural use,” which is to say the normative condition of the uncontrived encounter. Driven by the necessity of a context or situation, they become tactical, challenging the familiar discours- es of artistic production and reception and stretching notions of material and form. There are both rebellion and insistence in her withdrawals and her reliance on supposition. The eruption of a field of sound, the capturing of an impulse, the stumbling upon a situation or scenario suggest indexical forces and parallel worlds. In place of image, we find apparition. Donnelly’s iconog- raphy is one of heralds, guardians, gateways, planets, vortices, ocean waves, sphinxes, and states of transport, inflected with the stylized allure of Glenn Ford, Raffaella Carrà, and B-movie actresses. Brought into being as text, drawing, photography, video, carving, recorded sound, live readings, and physical dem- onstrations, each work is an iteration—an utterance, stop, or portal to another physical or imaginative realm, for which terms Fig. 1 Untitled, 2010 Quartzite, 308.7 × 203.2 × 3.2 such as pulse, delay, pull, drag, contraction, interruption, return, cm rally, and retreat replace more traditional

14 aesthetic (or anti-aesthetic) descriptors. Written and spoken words become people, places, and things; a drawing is a luminous emana- tion or a lever to another cognitive realm; a photograph is a move- ment, a video a sculpture, a building a receiver. An attempt to give form to transformative states drives Don- nelly’s fascination with both the technical and the technological, which she draws upon to generative cross-purpose. She has talked about sound as a type of video, of the still image as cinema, and of carving and cuts into quartzite or black limestone as the enacting of process- es of loss in geological time. In Donnelly’s world, time is fragmented— interrupted, suspended, repeated. A work is “an evening” in which its space is subject to processes of endless rehearsal. Sound, an electromagnetic waveform defined by time, is an essential part of her lexicon. Donnelly uses it to collapse and expand space into palpable form and narrative device, be it a transitional space of suspense, a shift from one scene to the next, in the spirit of a Western, or a ballroom in which “the music does go on and on until it is no longer true.” 1 The acoustic surge of cannon fire or the crash- ing timbre of bells ringing takes on a tidal force. Solid structures give way to compact or arcing reverberation. Then there are the demonstrations, famed for the possibly seen and the near misses of a loyal following anxious to play witness to the rumored event. Verification is less significant to the work than the reality assumed through the registration—and misregistration—of speculative rhetoric that passes from one person to another. Specu- lation becomes established as fact, with transmission as its enact- ment. Many of those who follow Donnelly’s art consider the slender disclosures she offers in her carefully choreographed appearances Fig. 2 Untitled, 2007 to be part of a self-styled persona that is in itself part of a larger and Pencil on paper, 29.5 × 21 cm all-encompassing design. I would argue that it is precisely to evade pyramids as sites of sacrifice; the South African singer and civil rights the avid and overwhelming desire to consume and to contain her activist Miriam Makeba recording a song accompanied by drums and work that Donnelly’s tacit and tactical introversion comes into force. a choir of male singers; and Jean Genet’s radical This fiercely protective attitude is one of necessary indifference and of enactment of portraiture in the transformation and transposition of his insistence text “Rembrandt’s Secret” (“Le Secret de Rembrandt”)4 into “What is on the possibility of art having equal reality with all else in the world. In left of a Rembrandt torn into four equal pieces and flushed down the referring to her interventions, be they unannounced demonstrations toilet” (“Ce qui est resté d’un Rembrandt déchiré en petit* carrés et or within the framework of an exhibition, the artist uses the phrase foutu aux chiottes”).5 “fluid file” to connote a condition in which the work is held in a state of These choices by Donnelly are not arbitrary. In different and partial commitment, only “existing if actualized from the cloud of one highly specific ways, each of the situations alluded to—spatial, visual, reality (time, situational, or locational) to the other.” 2 aural, textual—refers to the activated body and the self-transformative Donnelly deftly activates these states of coexistence that spectacle. They are energies in states of transit and transference. The operate between the perceptible and the imperceptible. Her art sculptural, in Donnelly’s universe, is not a discrete form but a battery, evades the presentational conventions of labels and signposts, both both a repository of energy and a physical assault on a (reciprocat- literal and figurative. Visitors to exhibitions in which Donnelly is said to ing) self. What interests Donnelly more than the beauty of the colossal be included are often left perplexed as to whether it is indeed so. And stone head of a Hindu god is the fact that his eyes are closed to all numerous collaborations, with writers, dancers, curators, and other who come into his presence. artists, exist in rogue anonymity. Her drawings, partial, wraithlike, or The sculptural here is enacted in the space between the object of charged afterimages, hover between the thing drawn and penumbral devotion and the observant in a mutual contract of encounter and possibility. Happenstance and strange communion are essential parts celestial union. The ascending lines of a pre-Columbian pyramid are of her modus operandi, like the encounter with a single large block fulfilled by of rose-colored marble that seems as if recently arrived from another the gravitational pull of blood-soaked falling bodies. Genet’s text, its world. A succession of precise cuts run vertically down its front facet title a reference to the writer’s habit of disposing of his works, resulted like a monumental transmitter, while its rear aspect resembles the from the author’s revisiting his earlier Rembrandt essay following an grimy back side of a body’s manhandled flesh. It stands in a semia- encounter with an old man on a train some years previously. Typeset bandoned building, Kubrick-esque in both its cinematic impact and itsin two columns in which an account of an existential epiphany vies alien presence, thrown into relief by a horizontal light shining through with his visceral analyses of the Dutch master’s portraits, Genet’s de- vast windows. scriptions collapse the visual and the textual in a performative process Several years ago, Donnelly gave a lecture about what of interference to the point of penetration. for her constituted sculpture.3 It included the stone carvings of the Donnelly’s literary tastes, while broad and at times widely Elephanta caves in India; photographs by the Peruvian Martin Chambi eclectic, are often guided by authors whose works also embody of a twelve-sided stone at an Inca site in Peru; the Aztec states of transit. As well as Genet, she has drawn on impulses found in the writings of Jane Bowles, Isabelle Eberhardt, and TRISHA DONNELLY

James Merrill, among others; time travelers, cross-dressers, and remarkable inhabitants and creators of extraordinary worlds. But if a conceptual circle is to be drawn in her work between the sculptural, text, and narrative, and definitions wereto be pronounced, a further shift in our understanding occurs. What we might begin to see as sculptural, for all its conflation of multiple modes, is for Donnelly, in fact, preparation for the photographic. The photographic in this case refers to a height- ened indexicality, not merely with regard to a printed or digitally rendered image as an index of a physical phenomenon but as the capturing of potential as pure transmission. Like the line that precedes the image, the cuts made into the travertine marble, the force of a giant wave, or, to cite another of Donnelly’s sculptural exemplars, the man behind the veil in George Kuchar’s film Ascension of the Demonoids, the photographic is the time of encounter; the future, the past, and the future that is past; the captor of fleshly existence, a state of transport, a passage of everr - berating realities.

Fig. 3 Untitled, 2009 Digital video, 28 sec., looped

1 4 Trisha Donnelly, “Guide for Visitors,” in Jean Genet, “Le Secret de Rembrandt,” Trisha Donnelly, exh. brochure, Modern L’Express, Sept. 4, 1958, pp.14–15. Art Oxford, Oct. 6–Dec. 16, 2007. Repr. in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 5 (Paris: Gallimard, 1979), pp.31–38. 2 Donnelly, e-mail to the author, Feb. 2012. 5 Genet, “Ce qui est resté…” Tel Quel, 3 no. 29 (spring 1967), pp.3–11. Donnelly, conversation with the author, Repr. in Oeuvres complètes, vol. 4 (1979), Feb. 2012. pp. 21–31.

16 Selected Exhibition History

— Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab 2005 CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary b. 1974, San Francisco Emirates, Sharjah Biennial: Plot for a Arts, San Francisco, A Brief History of Lives and works in New York Biennial, Mar. 16–May 16. Exh. cat. Invisible Art, Nov. 30, 2005–Feb. 18, 2010 Whitney Museum of American Art, 2006. Exh. cat. SOLO EXHIBITIONS New York, Off the Wall Part 1: — Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Thirty Performative Actions, July 1– Turin, Torino Triennale Tremusei: 2010 Portikus, Frankfurt, Trisha Donnelly, Sept. 19. Traveled to Museu de arte T1—La Sindrome di Pantagruel, Apr. 3–May 23. contemporãnea de Serralves Nov. 11–Mar. 19. — Center for Contemporary Art, CCA (as Off the Wall/Fora da Parede), — Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Kitakyushu, Japan, Trisha Donnelly, Porto, Portugal, May 21–Oct. 2, 2011. Paris/ARC, I still believe in miracles: Mar. 29–Apr. 28. Exh. cat. I still believe in still, May 19–June 19. 2009 MAMbo, Museo d’arte moderna 2009 Aspen Art Museum, Colo., No Sound, Exh. cat. di Bologna, Italy, Trisha Donnelly, May 23–July 19. Exh. cat. — Lenin Museum, Moscow, Moscow Feb. 21–Apr. 13. — Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Biennial of Contemporary Art: 2008 Centre d’édition contemporaine, Ge- The Quick and the Dead, Apr. 24– Dialectics of Hope, Jan. 28–Feb. 28. neva, Sept. 27. Exh. cat. 2004 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Trisha Donnelly, Oct. 10–Dec. 4. 2008 Yokohama Triennial: Time Crevasse, Carnegie International, Oct. 9, — The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Sept. 13–Nov. 30. Exh. cat. 2004–Mar. 20, 2005. Exh. cat. Trisha Donnelly, Aug. 1–Sept. 18. — De Appel arts centre, Amsterdam, — P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center — The Renaissance Society at the The artist is a mysterious entertainer, (now MoMA PS1), New York, University of Chicago, Trisha Donnelly, June 2–22. Curious Crystal of Unusual Purity, Feb. 24–Apr. 6. — New Museum, New York, The Sound June 27–Oct. 3. — Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Things: Unmonumental Audio, 2003 Seattle Art Museum, Baja to of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Trisha Feb. 13–Mar. 30. Exh. cat. Vancouver: The West Coast and Donnelly, Jan. 18–Aug. 3. Exh. cat. 2007 Tate Modern, London, The World Contemporary Art, Oct. 9, 2003– 2007 Modern Art Oxford, Trisha Donnelly, as a Stage, Oct. 24, 2007–Jan. 1, Jan. 4, 2004. Traveled to Museum of Oct. 6–Dec. 16. 2008. Traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego, Calif., — GAM, Galleria d’arte moderna di Contemporary Art, Boston, Feb. 1– Jan. 23–May 16, 2004; Vancouver Art Bologna, Italy, Trisha Donnelly, Apr. 27, 2008. Exh. cat. Gallery, June 5–Sept. 6, 2004; and Jan. 26–Mar. 4. — Palais de Tokyo, Paris, The Third CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary 2005 Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich, Mind: Carte blanche à Ugo Rondinone, Arts, San Francisco, Oct. 6, 2004– Trisha Donnelly, Aug. 27–Oct. 30. Sept. 27, 2007–Jan. 3, 2008. Exh. cat. Jan. 10, 2005. Exh. cat. — Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, — The Metropolitan Museum of Art, — Lyon Biennial: It Happened Tomorrow, Trisha Donnelly: Central Kunstpreis, New York, Depth of Field: Modern Sept. 18, 2003–Jan. 4. 2004. Exh. cat. June 25–Sept. 4. Photography at the Metropolitan, — Midway Contemporary Art, Saint Paul, — Artpace, San Antonio, Tex., Sept. 24, 2007–Mar. 22, 2008. Minn., Ishtar, May 22–June 29. Trisha Donnelly, Apr. 28–July 17. — Opera House, Manchester Exh. cat. 2004 The Wrong Gallery, New York, International Festival (commissioned — Veletržní palác, Národní galerie v Trisha Donnelly, Oct. 7–Nov. 5. with Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Praze, Prague Biennial: Peripheries Il Tempo del Postino—A Group Show, become the center, June 26–Aug. 24. GROUP EXHIBITIONS July 12–14. Traveled to Theater Basel, 2002 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Switzerland, June 10–12, 2009. Hello, Forum: My Name Is…, 2012 MoMA, New York, Print/Out, 2006 KW Institute for Contemporary Art, June 29–Sept. 29. Feb. 19–May 14. Exh. cat. Berlin, Berlin Biennial: Of Mice — Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2011 Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne and Men, Mar. 25–June 5. Exh. cat. New York, Moving Pictures, June 28, Kunst, Oslo, Norway, VideoSpace, — Whitney Museum of American Art, 2002–Jan. 12. 2003. Traveled to Nov. 3–Dec. 31. Exh. cat. New York, Whitney Biennial: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Oct. 8, — Venice Biennale: ILLUMInazioni/ Day for Night, Mar. 2–May 28. 2003–May 18, 2004. Exh. cat. ILLUMInations, June 4–Nov. 27. Exh. cat. 2000 Artists Space, New York, Echo, Exh. cat. Apr. 1–May 20.


58 How Soon is Now, Edited by Griffin, Tim. Luma Foundation Exhibition Catalogue, p. 47-58.

Trisha Donnelly

Born in 1974 in San Francisco, USA. Lives and works in San Francisco, USA.

Often describing her artistic practice as one that moves between actions and objects-featuring as it does performance and sculpture in addition to photography-Trisha Donnelly has become known for live presentations that go unannounced and undocumented and for installations that trump conventional expectations for exhibition-making. Such elusive traits have placed her among the most inscrutable artists working today and yet also in the company of the most compelling and evocative of her generation. To borrow the words of artist John Miller on the character of much artwork made by Donnelly’s peers-who came of age at the turn of the millennium-this kind of iconoclasm seems “rooted in the incommunicability and opacity of Bas Jan Ader.” Indeed, in the spirit of the 1970s California Conceptual artist, Donnelly’s signature gatherings of objects across mediums tease the viewer with intimations of meaning, seeming at once at a far remove from comprehension and deeply romantic in their invitation to encounter the world anew. Such a desire to elide conventions plays out for Donnelly not only as her pieces obtain ambiguous status-never settling into legible parameters of genre, or even of originality versus appropriation-but also as the artist herself strains the logic of Conceptualism. One part rumor,one part rumination, Donnelly’s work underscores both the cultural and cultish character of artistic discourse. Donnelly received a BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art. A featured artist in the 2011 Venice Biennale, Donnelly’s work has also appeared in solo exhibitions at Portikus, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany (2010); Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo), Bologna (2009); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2008); the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2008); Modern Art Oxford (2007); and Kunsthalle, Zurich (2006). She has also participated in the group shows “II Tempo Del Postino” (organized by Art Basel, Foundation Beyeler, and Theater Basel, 2009); the International Triennale of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan (2008); “Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Untitled, 2010. RC-Print, 10 x 5.5 in. York (2007); and the 54th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2004). Donnelly received the LUMA Foundation prize as part of Recontres d’Arles (2010) as well as the Sharjah Biennial 10 Primary Prize (2011), and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and numerous other institutions. Six Named as Finalists for Hugo Boss Prize by CAROL VOGEL November 25, 2011

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has announced six finalists for its 2012 Hugo Boss Prize.The $100,000 prize, named for the German men’s wear company that sponsors it, is given every two years to an individual who has made an important contribution in contemporary art. In addition to cash, the winner is awarded an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The finalists are:

Trisha Donnelly, 37, an American artist living in New York and San Francisco whose photographs, drawings, videos, sound and per- formance pieces often deal with the meaning of time and language.

Rashid Johnson, 34, lives and works in Brooklyn. His photographs, sculptures and videos are about his personal memories, art his- torical sources, and notions of racial and cultural identity.

Monika Sosnowska, 39, lives and works in Poland, where she was born. At this summer’s Venice Biennale she created a star-shaped installation of zigzagging brocade-covered walls as part of “Illuminations,” the exhibition organized by the event’s artistic director, Bice Curiger. Her installations often explore notions of the built environment.

Danh Vo, 36, a Vietnamese-born conceptual artist who lives and works in Berlin, melds autobiography with larger cultural issues, often using appropriated objects and images.

Tris Vonna-Michell, 28, is a British artist living in Stockholm who made quite a splash in 2009 with his audiotaped performance at the New Museum’s show of young artists, “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus.” His work often explores new ways of storytelling with recordings, documents and images.

Qiu Zhijie, 42, is a Chinese conceptual artist who lives and works in Beijing and Hangzhou. He produces sculpture, painting and prints; video and photography; and performance, work that often comments on political and social issues of contemporary China.

The winner, who will be announced next fall, will have a tough act to follow. Last year the award went to the German artist Hans- Peter Feldmann. Mr. Feldmann, now 70, caused quite a stir when instead of presenting a traditional show he covered a gallery at the Guggenheim, floor to ceiling, in 100,000 used $1 bills. He said he had conceived of thisWarholian act as a way “to show the quantity” of the prize.

Since its establishment in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has distinguished itself from other art awards because it has no restrictions on nationality or age. (Mr. Feldmann is the oldest winner thus far.) This year’s international finalists are slightly younger, ranging in age from 28 to 42. (The youngest finalist last year was 31.) A five-person jury of museum directors, curators and critics — with Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s chief curator, as chairwoman — each nominated five candidates.

In past years some artists have been little known, but this year’s finalists have, for the most part, been included in significant exhibi- tions. As has been the case for several years now, no painters are on the list.

“We did discuss every type of artist,” said Suzanne Cotter, a juror who is also curator of the Guggenheim museum planned for Abu Dhabi, when asked why there are no painters yet again. “What’s distinctive about this year’s list is that it reflects certain attitudes that are very much of the moment in the way artists approach art-making.”

Those attitudes, according to Ms. Spector, tend to be a strong but subtle strand of political critique. “They are conceptually based,” she said, adding that these artists embrace narratives of memory and history. Brussels

“After Images” JEWISH MUSEUM OF BELGIUM rue des Minimes 21 April 29–August 28

View of “After Images,” 2011. From left: Roe Ethridge, Moon, 2003–2008; Roe Ethridge, Red Diamondback, 2006; Roe Ethridge, Sunset #3, 2008. Center: Uri Aran, All This Is Yours, 2010.

This vast exhibition gathers a selection of work by thirty-four contemporary artists; many of the pieces are loaned from private Belgian collections. Curated by Fionn Meade and set in the rear of the museum’s complex, in a building that was occupied by the German Wehrmacht during World War II, the show opens up questions regarding the overload of visual representations in contemporary culture. Important works by a now historical generation of artists such as Sherrie Levine, and precursors including John Baldessari, are aptly included. At times, the subtler works––such as those by Tom Burr and Christopher Williams––seem to be lost within the show’s theme, and could perhaps benefit from a more explicit contextualization. Jenny Perlin’s black-and-white 16-mm films Notes and Inaudible, both 2006–10, use image and sound to engage in critical writing with light that opens up readily to grasping its deeper level of meaning, implicating a Warburgian temporality of the “afterimage” as trace. Likewise many of the other pieces dwell on profound issues, such as trace. Likewise many of the other pieces dwell on profound issues, such as memory and its operational processes. They initiate a perceptual process of information registration––both figurative and abstract––that fills the spectator with many uncertainties. Uri Aran’s All This Is Yours, 2010, comprises a table featuring a small television playing the end credits of Black Beauty (1979), scattered wood shavings, bits of cereal, a cookie, a broken fake coin, and two toy mice encased in glaze. Such confrontation between an absolute moment of happiness and widespread disorder disturbingly demonstrates how the specific setting within the Jewish Museum adds to the spectator’s need to come to terms with subtly evoked concerns about political and ideological conflict. — Hilde Van Gelder Summer 2011

Trisha Donnelly, The Hand that Holds the Desert Down. 2002. Silver Gelatin Print, 5 x 7”


In 1966 the unmanned space probe Lunar Orbiter 1 cap- This is a role that requires a willingness to take part in her tured, for the first time in the history of photography, artistic cosmology. Through images, gestures, sounds, sculp- images of the lunar landscape and of the Earth from the tural objects (and so on), Donnelly’s decade-long practice perspective of another celestial body. On board the space- stretches the bounds of medium specificity. Within the elas- craft, a specifically built 70-millimeter Kodak camera and tic spectrum of elements in her artistic output, photography an automated darkroom processed and prepared the pho- takes an anchoring role, often pointing toward notional tographs for Earth-bound transmission. The data traveled potentialities, yielding at first glimpse a seemingly chime- some 240,000 miles to reach its destination, incontrovert- ric entryway into the imaginary field. In her second solo ibly the longest distance at that moment in time that an exhibition at New York’s Casey Kaplan Gallery in 2004, image had traveled to reach its receiver. In this spatial and amid large-scale drawings and video projection, was a mi- temporal passage, one can imagine, the invisible image nuscule black-and-white photograph of the Sphinx, cropped signal was exposed to unknown and perhaps unknowable to emphasize the outreaching paw, titled The Hand that elements, before its eventual re-rendering as a perceiv- Holds the Desert Down (2002). Upon an initial encounter able image. A history of photographic images through the with this photograph, and after the mental registration of development of their transmission is a history that needs the ascribed title, the weight of the world becomes suddenly to be written—one that may illuminate as much about the palpable; it underscored, albeit in a droll manner the undis- motives of the perceiver as that of the one desiring to see. closed “material” that was present throughout the exhibition.

Trisha Donnelly is an artist whose acute absorption in Starting in 2007 photographic works made on flatbed scan- the processes of transmission, compression, and ex- ners began to appear in Donnelly’s exhibitions. These pansion not only gives new dimensions to artistic were not singular pieces, but elements in larger installa- agency, but also signals a renewed role of the viewer. tions (including her 2007 solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan). Trisha Donnelly, Untitled II (Peralta.) 2007. Inkjet Print, 62-1/2 x 44” Although the scanner produces an image that is similar florescent or xenon lamps, which are the necessary light to that produced by a lens-based camera, there are onto- source used to illuminate the document placed on the scan logical differences between the two types. Light sensors plate during a scan interval. This movement of scanning built into the scan head sweep across the document placed across resembles walking in complete darkness, with torch on the scanner plate. The speed of the scan is often slow in hand, where the amount of what you see is gradual, with enough that any shift of movement on the glass will be your own movement through space building a successive perceptible. Movements rendered through this process are accumulation of information. In Donnelly’s Untitled II/ like striated trails, resembling the distortions that are pro- (Peralta) (2007), a white card floats in the center backed duced in faxed images. Scanned images are also different by a trumpet-like object, the arrangement hovering over from camera-based images in that they are direct, lens-less a grayish morass. On the white card the word Peralta (an conversions of light (photons) into electric charges (elec- unfixed reference to the famed skateboarder Stacy Peralta trons)—transformations of the physical world into digital, and a Spanish town of the same name) is drawn in pencil pixel-based facsimiles. The scanned image is a digitized appearing as if in a time lapse, an apparent visualization of index of this metamorphosis. the slow transmitting pulses, a self-reflexive pronounce- A series of twelve scanner-made works from 2007 titled ment to the image signal traveling through the scanning Satin Operator traces the roll- apparatus, conjuring Craig Ow- ing movement of a printed en’s notion of “photography en female figure perhaps some abyme” a photograph containing starlet, though her identity is the traces of its own making. not revealed to the viewer. In 1990 Bernd and Hilla When the images are seen as Becher received the Golden a sequence, the woman moves Lion, the prestigious prize for across the surface of the glass sculpture, at the Venice Bien- plate as though in a broken and nale for their work Typologien, staggered cinematic tracking or Typologies. This was a se- shot, with details unfolding lection of three photographic slowly, in fragmented succes- projects including Industrial sion. The figure seems trapped Facades, Blast Furnaces, and in an incantatory time lapse, Postwar Houses, now well- forced to reside beneath the known staples of the historical cannon. Although there is a long and rich history of sculptural partition of the scanner glass. There are obvious connec- ideas deployed through the photographic medium, the occa- tions to aspects of performance, though it becomes dif- sion of this award pointed further toward sculpture’s exponen- ficult to discern whether it’s Donnelly—the “operator” of tial elasticity, carving out ever greater space in photography’s the printed image and the scanner device—carrying out the already inherent ability, through demarcation and designation performance in the time span of the scans. Or perhaps it is of the physical world and the things within it, to bring forth the young actress herself, operating within the constructed alternate possible considerations. nether space within the scanner, attempting movement in It might be said that the gestalt of Donnelly’s practice, the constricted space. These performative gestures tak- too, is rooted in the sculptural, and the scanner provides ing place within the durational and spatial confines of the yet another experimental chamber where notions of the scanner bring to mind Bruce Nauman’s early video works, sculptural and investigations in materials can be hypoth- demarcating any and all activities performed within the esized and perhaps manifested. Incorporated into installa- studio to be gestures of art, but necessitating some form tions, Donnelly’s scanner photographs also serve as proxies of evidential record as a means of conveyance. Nauman’s for the studio space. Beyond the sculptural arrangement of 1966 Manipulating the T-Bar shows the artist assiduously objects taking up the foreground (or the scanner plate) in arranging and rearranging two pieces of rebar on the floor these images, traces of the artist’s workspace loom behind. of his studio. Nauman’s floor surface plays a seeming par- The backgrounds in these images suggest an opening up allel to the scanner plate of Donnelly’s photographs. of the physical architecture, giving hints of another dimen- Like the reflected face of an actor in a brightly lit dress- sion. They situate the viewer not in the architecture of the ing-room mirror, the various objects placed in Donnelly’s scanner-made still lifes seem to be floating in a suspended foreground, cascading into gradual darkness the farther they are from the light source. A scanner uses a specific lighting mechanism that is different from the refracted light through a camera lens. Attached to the scan head are IMAGE: First view of Earth from Moon 1966. Trisha Donnelly, Satin Operator (12) 2007. Epson Inkjet Print, 62-1/2 x 44”

exhibition space itself, but in the constant transposition ambitious landing of Apollo and its crew. For two decades between the here and there—there being the space where the these tapes were stored in the NASA archives, until 1986, artist (or operator?) works—sparking tension between the when the decision to discard them was contested by Nancy space the viewer is standing in and the space viewed, allow- Evans, longtime archivist for the space program. Evans res- ing the viewer to shift into the role of the operator. cued and took over custodial storage of the tapes, and, after In August 1966, amid an especially turbulent historical another twenty years, in 2006, secured funding to process and background (University of Texas shootings, protests against digitize the vast archive of never-seen images of the Moon. The the Vietnam War catastrophic earthquake in Turkey), Lunar latent image data thus remained entombed for nearly half a Orbiter 1 was sent on its reconnaissance mission to survey century, its material form never changing, as the temporal and the lunar landscape, its main goal to find an appropriate land- historical context of their existence went through countless ing site for the soon-to-begin Apollo program. In its short metamorphoses. lifespan orbiting the Moon, it captured, processed, and trans- This long delay of visibility is a poignant, if oblique, mitted nearly two hundred high-resolution photographs be- counterpart to Donnelly’s scanner-made photographs, where fore its final impact with the lunar surface, where it was pro- the vestige and process of its temporal passage cannot be grammed to self-destruct. The image signals were recorded shown but becomes intrinsically part of its makeup. as files onto reels of analogue magnetic tape. Only a handful The most famous of these newly re-processed high- of these files were ever processed (though, because of tech- resolution images, released in 2008, shows the Earth rising nological limitations, not at the highest resolution the files above the lunar horizon, the striation of the pulse transmis- were capable of); these were soon released, to the marvel sion clearly visible. of viewers, before public attention was diverted to the more - ARTHUR OU Trisha Donnelly, Untitled 2007. C-Print, 27-1/4 x 20-1/2” Trisha Donnelly, Untitled 2010.

View of Earth from Moon: courtesy NASA; all other images courtesy the artist: Casey Kaplan. New York; and Air de Paris. Paris travertine; in the quiet, wavelike din of bells that seemed as if they were coming closer and then receding, the space felt almost funereal--a quiet, peaceful scene. Water and other elemental forms also inform Donnelly’s practice, and the four works incorpo- rate scoured shapes like the crests and troughs Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York, USA of waves. In the back room, a three-metre-high quartzite work loomed over the otherwise empty During New York’s inaugural ‘Gallery Week’ in space, accompanied by a black and white pho- May, Trisha Donnelly and curator Anthony Huber- tograph of a wave that had not yet crested. The man sat before a crowd of eager visitors in Casey smooth, glasslike surface of the water spoke to Kaplan Gallery. A projector illuminated a yellow- the smooth surface of the quartzite, the textured ish screen on the wall behind them, casting a sim- bubbling of foam speaking to the eroded central ilarly sterile glow as the fluorescent lights above. section of the sculpture. Huberman proposed some questions--‘Where In Donnelly’s world, marble takes on a qual- were you born?’; ‘What is your favorite colour?’; ity of lightness and delicateness. Through both ‘What scares you?’ - that sounded as though they the material as well as particular decorative em- were lifted from a dating website application form. bellishments, she evokes not only architectur- Despite trying his best to chip away at Donnelly’s ally classical forms, but also an almost ‘generic’ reticence, Huberman gleaned very little from the feeling of antiquity. At the same time, her works artist; her answers, like her work, seemed to be appear to live outside any denoted time period: covered with a gauzy veil. (‘Pass’ was her usual they seem timeworn but they feel current, even response.) Despite this, Donnelly did offer the futuristic, all the same. visitors a very intimate look into her practice, one The character of the secretary has long played that was revealed via her iPod. She answered a part in Donnelly’s work (in her Q&A with Hu- audience questions (‘Can you talk a bit about the berman, she expressed her fascination with the works in this show?’) by playing tracks from The popular 1980s Italian television show Pronto Raf- Optina Pustyn Male Choir of St. Petersburg--one faella?, in which presenter Raffaella Carra sits at song, entitled ‘The Little Cuckoo’, evoked giggles a desk with an old rotary phone, answering her and bopping heads around the room. And so audience’s questions). In the front room of the Donnelly’s magic was realized yet again; instead gallery, The Secretary - an appropriated 1950s of lifting the veil or giving a concrete explanation, wooden desk - was a deceptive opener. Upon she offered an indefinable spatial and temporal leaving the show, you feel somewhat betrayed by plane, a place where the beholder is left with no the work because it seems only tangentially relat- guide other than the music and his own memory, ed to the rest of the pieces. However you come to intuition and experience. understand its role, The Secretary grounded the Music and sound play a significant role in Don- exhibition in a real time and place, serving as the nelly’s work. In this exhibition, her fourth with the portal between real life (the street, the gallery, the gallery, a looped recording of tinkling bells created reception area, the desk) and Donnelly’s spiritual, an aural sculptural space; like the delicate nature perhaps mythical, interior space. of the four marble sculptures that made up the Marina Cashdan rest of the show, the sound had an ethereal qual- ity--you could hear it, but the source from which it Trisha Donnelly came was impossible to define. A horizontal black Trisha Donnelly Untitled portoro sculpture (all works untitled, all 2010) lay Untitled 2010 low to the ground, propped up on blocks of unfin- 2010 Black portora ished wood, a columnar form carved into its cen- Travertine 17x179x60 cm tre. It faced a dusty-rose-coloured vertical work in 156x81x19 cm

September 2010 | frieze | 143 September 2010 Trisha Donnelly CASEY KAPLAN

Comb-like. This is the word Trisha Donnelly uses to describe (to divine?) the process through which sound (a Russian Men’s Chorus) becomes sculpture. It appears in the typewritten text “The Vortex Notes,” 2002, a guide of sorts related to her edifying 2003 demonstration The Vortex: TAKE THE HIGHEST MALE VOICE, LISTEN AND TRACK IT THROUGHOUT THE RECORDING, THE SOUND CAN COMPRESS LIKE A PHOTO- GRAPH. WHILE LISTENING, FLATTEN IT INTO AN OBJECT. IT’S A COMB-LIKE STRUCTURE. Attempting, successfully, to evoke an experience of syn- esthesia via a visual eddy in the mind’s eye, the short text collapses easy distinctions among media, producers, and audiences—a gambit central to Donnelly’s practice. In this exhibition, there were four stone monoliths on view: One had a small, carved biomorphic relief; the others Trisha Donnelly, Untitled, 2010, travertine, 61 1/3 x 32 x 71/3”. featured jagged, toothed, or feathered comb-like forms. Cut by hand and with a rotary blade, the works were extracted from blocks of quartzite, travertine, Black Portoro limestone, and Rose of Portugal marble, and were installed with enough distance between them that navigating to, from, and around these firm figurants, some on wooden blocks, impelled a contemplative stroll. Donnelly dimmed the fluorescent lights of the galleries with gray gels and altered the architecture to create a series of parallel entrances. The looped, icy sounds of a mechanical jingle-jangle (bringing to mind the blade) emanated from above. The stage was set, and yet the performance seemed to be over—but time is never linear in Donnelly’s art.

Yet despite—or perhaps because of—this disordered temporality, the show elicited a distinct feeling of anticipation, an undercurrent one senses in her exhibitions, which functioned here like a distorted telegram from her previous output. The comb-like indentations made the works seem at once old and new, perhaps of a different world and waiting to go back to it. A black-and-white photograph of a wave appeared as a cipher, pointing to epic, geologic processes that also conjure a slow sense of expectancy: the sedimentation of limestone, limestone’s metamorphism into marble, sandstone’s metamorphism into quartzite, and water’s erosion of stone. The image appeared as an analogue to “The Vortex Notes,” here linking water and waves to metamorphic rock as the text connects sound waves to comb-like structures.

The most peculiar work stood near the entrance of the gallery, before the reception area. Facing the doors was a meticulous reproduction of a vintage wooden desk, a hub for information left vacant, transformed into an empty vessel. Absences were important: The emptiness of the desk echoed the show’s lack, at the artist’s request, of a press release; moreover, all of the works except for this one, The Secretary, 2010, are untitled. It is fitting that the art world’s desire for publicity, for facts and details, should be met with this, a new kind of control center, which also seemed a rejection, and a refusal of sorts. Donnelly’s no, however, is an undoubt- edly important no: an art “against meaning,” to apply an idea from a remarkable recent talk by David Joselit, of a kind “whose nature is dynamic—whose form literally changes state either through material transforma- tion, temporal reenactment, or spatial dislocation.” Such dynamism, in Donnelly’s art, is often left in suspen- sion, with a plethora of thoughts and ideas (hers and ours) fading in and out of focus. It seemed necessary to put some of these fragments into words as I passed the desk, its empty top inducing one last moment of expectancy, on the way out.

-Lauren O’Neill-Butler REVIEWS

Trisha Donnelly By Marina Cashdan Published: May 27, 2010

Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York Through June 26, 2010

Trisha Donnelly’s “Untitled,” 2010. Rose of Portugal, 21.8 x 35 x 19 in. Courtesy Casey Kaplan Gallery

Trisha Donnelly’s current show at Casey Kaplan, her fourth with the gallery, is made up of the crests and troughs of waves, compression and decompression, coming and going — immaterial gestures creating mass in the space as significant as the physical mass of the four marble sculptures that make up the show. In Donnelly’s world, marble, an ancient material (and one that takes form through atmo- spheric compression), takes on a quality of lightness and delicateness. Through both the material as well as particular decorative embellishments, Donnelly evokes ancient civilization, a subject that she of- ten explores. At the same time, the works live outside of any denoted time period: they seem timeworn, but they feel current and futuristic all the same, leaving them in a space suspended and detached from time, another dimension entirely.

A horizontal black portoro structure (all marble works untitled and dated 2010) lies low to the ground. A columnar form is carved through its center. Its position and the imperfect quality of the structure — grooves, cracks and rough surfaces — which is propped up on blocks of unfinished wood, give it a human quality and facing the dusty-rose colored vertical travertine work across the room and in the wavelike din of bells that seem as if they’re coming closer and then moving away, the room feels almost funereal — a quiet, peaceful scene. Like the delicate and spiritual nature of her physical sculptures, the sound too takes an ethereal form, existing in the room with weight but simultaneously difficult to pin down. You hear it, you sense it, but the source from which it comes is impossible to define.

In the back room, a ten-foot-high quartzite work looms over the otherwise empty space; a black-and- white photograph of a wave that has not yet crested accompanies it. The smooth, glasslike surface of the water in the photograph speaks to the smooth, glasslike surface of the sculpture. The textured bub- bling of sea foam in the photograph speaks to eroded central part of the sculpture. The remainder of the room is bare and quiet, empty but full.

In the front room The Secretary — an appropriated wooden desk circa the 1950s — digresses from the marble works. The Secretary grounds the show to a real time and place, serving as the portal between reality — the street, the gallery, the reception area, the desk — and Donnelly’s spiritual and mythical interior space. source: PRESS RELEASE, March 20, 2010

Trisha Donnelly

Opening 4/2/2010, 8 pm Exhibition on view: 4/3-5/23/2010 Press conversation: Thursday, 4/1/2010, 11 am Lecture: 3/31/2010, 7 pm, Städelschule, auditorium

Trisha Donnelly shows at Portikus:

Two drawings on paper:

Untitled, 2009, pencil on paper, 66.5 x 47.7 cm

Untitled, 2009, pencil and colour crayon on paper, 66.5 x 47.7 cm

A work with fabric and enamel

Untitled, 2007, enamel on fabric, 140 x 90 cm

Four large marble slabs with carved parts:

All: Untitled, 2009, Carved black and white Labradorite bianca marble, 280 x 180 x 3 cm

A smaller work made of marbel

A video work:

Untitled, 2009, video, 0:28 min, loop

A sound piece

Two prints

Trisha Donnelly, born 1974 in San Francisco, lives and works in New York

Exhibition (solo): 2009: Museo de Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo). Bologna: 2008: Centre d’edition contemporain, Batiment d’art Contemporain. Geneva: Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia. Philadelphia; Renaissance society . University of Chicago: The Douglas Hyde Museum. Dublin: 2007: Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Casey Kaplan, New York; 2006: Air de Paris, Paris; 2005: Artpace, San Antonio, Texas; Kolni cher Kunstverein, Cologne: Kunsthalle Zurich. Zurich: 2004: Casey Kaplan, New York: The Wrong Gallery, New York; 2002: Casey Kaplan 10-6, New York; Air de Paris, Paris

Group exhibition (selection): 2009: The Object of the Attack, David Robert Art Foundation, London; If Tempo del Postino, A Group Show by Hans Ulrich Obrist et Philippe Parreno, Theater Basel, Basel; La recherche, Air de Paris. Paris; The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Desenhos A- Z, Coleccao Madeira Corporate Service. Museu da Cidade d Lisboa, Lisabon; No Sound. Aspen Art Museum, Aspen: Every Revolution is a Roll of the Dice, organized by Bob Nickas, Paula Cooper Galerie New York: 2008 : Time Crevasse. Yokohama 2008 International Triennale of Contemporary Art., Yokohama: Meet Me Around the Corner, work from the As- trup Fearnley Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modem Art.o 10; Blasted Allegories, Werke au der ammlung Ringier. Kunstmuseum Luzern. Luzern: Self Storage, The Hardware Store Gallery. San Francisco. Califor- nia; The artist is a mysterious entertainer. De Appel. Amsterdam; The Sound of Things: Unmonumental Audio, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City; Uncertain States of America, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, Gunnar B. Karan. Han Ulrich Obrist, Songzhuan Art Center, Beijing; 2007: 00-05. L’histoire d’une decennie qui n ‘est pas encore nommee, Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Institute d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, Lyon, curated by Stephanie Moisdon and Hans UIrich Obrist; Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York; The World as a Stage, Tate Modern, London.

For further information and for guided tours please contact [emailprotected]

With thanks to Josef Dalle Nogare Collection, Bolzano, Air de Paris, Paris and Casey Kaplan, New York

We would like to thank the BHF-BANK-Stiftung for their generous support The Art of Tomorrow. Edited by Laura Hoptman, Yilmaz Dziewior, Uta Grosenick, Distanz, Verlag, Germany, 2010. 118-121 TRISHA DONNELLY

1974 geboren in San Francisco, CA, USA, Es erscheint aus mehreren Gründen merkwür- It seems odd to write about Trisha Donnelly’s lebt und arbeitet in New York, NY, USA dig, über die Arbeit von Trisha Donnelly in einem work in a book about ‘tomorrow’, for several 1974 born in San Francisco, CA, USA, Buch über “Morgen” zu schreiben. Ich beginne reasons. I will start with this one: time falters lives and works in New York, NY, USA mit einem von ihnen: In ihrer Kunst ist die Zeit in her art. It is never linear—some would say ins Wanken gekommen. Sie ist niemals linear - 2007 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contempo- there is no time; others might argue only time. rary Art - Footnotes on Geopolitics, Market manche würden sagen, es gibt darin keine Zeit, But then there is no tomorrow, only tomorrow; and Amnesia andere behaupten womöglich, dass es darin it is hard to say. Meanwhile, she is collapsing 2006 4th berlin biennial for contemporary nichts als Zeit gibt. Doch dann gäbe es darin kein easy distinctions between medium and pro- art - Of Mice and Men Morgen, oder nur ein Morgen - das ist schwer ducer, artist and audience. 2006 Whitney Biennial - Day for Night, zu sagen, In der Zwischenzeit lässt sie die ein- Her exhibition in New York in 2010 featured New York fachen Unterscheidungen zwischen Medium und four monoliths. One had a biomorphic relief; 50th International Art Exhibition / 2003 Produzent, zwischen Künstler und Publikum ins the three others featured jagged, toothed, or La Biennale di Venezia - Dreams and Conflicts. The Dictatorship of the Viewer Leere laufen. feathered forms. The works were extracted In ihrer New Yorker Ausstellung 2010 waren from blocks of quartzite, travertine, Black Por- vier Monolithe zu sehen. Einer von ihnen hatte toro limestone, and Rose of Portugal marble, ein biomorphes Relief; die drei anderen wiesen and were cut by the artist’s hand, as though gezackte, gezahnte oder gefiederte Formen auf. surgically. A black-and-white image of a wave Die Arbeiten wurden aus Blacken von Quarzit, about to break appeared as a coded missive, Travertin, Granit und rosafarbenem portugie- a suggestion of epic, geologic processes, sischem Marmor von der Kunstlerin mit der Hand particularly water’s erosion of stone. The quasi chirurgisch geschnitten. Die Schwarz- photograph brought to mind a 2003 work from Weiß-Aufnahme einer Welle, kurz bevor sie Donnelly’s exhibition at Philadelphia’s Insti- bricht, erschien als eine verschlusselte Botschaft, tute of Contemporary Art, also affixed directly eine Andeutung langwieriger geologischer Proz- to the wall, which depicts a large rock with a esse, insbesondere der Erosion von Gestein wave moving gently towards it. The exhibition durch Wasser. guide suggested that the protruding fragment Die Fotografie erinnerte an eine Arbeit aus dem recalls the shape of a woman’s face and her Jahr 2003 in Donnellys Ausstellung im Institute of torso in profile, a body floating on the surface Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, die ebenfalls of the water. Below, Donnelly had added her direkt an der Wand befestigt war und die einen idea in italics: ‘This is a film that maintains groBen Felsen zeigt, auf den sanft eine Welle one image.’ Her art trades in such specifici- zurollt, Der Begleittext zur Ausstellung fuhrte an, ties (material, formal, and conceptual), even dass das hervortretende Fragment an das Gesi- as it welcomes generous interpretations. This cht und den Torso einer Frau im Profil erinnerte, has led some critics to label Donnelly and her an einen auf der Wasseroberflache treibenden output as enigmatic and mysterious—a lazy Karper. Darunter hatte Donnelly ihre Idee in kur- reading that simply masks a request of leg- siver Schrift formuliert: “Dies ist ein Film, der nur ibility and a desire for meaning. But it is her ein Bild zeigt.” Ihre Kunst handelt mit solchen work’s ability to move beyond this insistence, (materiellen, formalen und konzeptuellen) Be- perhaps through this slippage of time, which sonderheiten, wobei sie freie Interpretationen makes Donnelly one of the most significant durchaus begruBt. Dies hat manche Kritiker dazu artists today, which is neither yesterday nor gefuhrt, Donnelly und ihre Produktion als ratsel- tomorrow. haft und geheimnisvoll zu bezeichnen eine be- queme Lesart, die schlicht die Forderung nach Lauren O’Neill-Butler Lesbarkeit und den Wunsch nach Bedeutung maskiert. Doch es ist gerade die Fahigkeit ihres Werks, sich - vielleicht durch solche Spielraume der Zeit - uber diese Forderungen hinwegzuset- zen, die Donnelly zu einerder wichtigsten Kun- stlerinnen unserer Zeit macht, die weder gestern noch morgen ist. PARIS “We Are Sun-kissed and Snow-blind” GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN

“I love the authority of black. It’s a color that doesn’t compromise.... At once a color and a non-color. When light is reflected on it, it transforms it, transmutes it. It opens up a mental field all of its own.” We owe this entirely personal definition to the painter Pierre Soulages, the inventor ofoutre-noir , ultra black, whose work is on view all winter on the seventh floor of the Centre Pompidou. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Paris, Galerie Patrick Seguin was also playing with a color that is simultaneously a noncolor. Here, though, the subject was black’s immaculate counterpart: the gallery, partnering with Zurich’s Galerie Eva Pre- senhuber for the occasion, resembled a vast white monochrome. For the viewer who ventured to discover the thirty-two pieces shown (including works by Syl- vie Fleury, Fischli & Weiss, Liam Gillick, and Martin Boyce—whose­­­­ sculpture We Are Sun-kissed and Snow-blind, 2005, a white steel armature topped with a shroud, provided the title for the exhibition), the luminous intensity could be hard to take. From the walls to the ceiling and down to the floor, it was almost as if the ex- hibition in its entirety had been whitewashed with the paint that is typically smeared on the windows of stores closed for inventory. All that was missing, to my mind, was one of the “painted objects” of the French artist Bertrand Lavier, who has used whitewash so well. Instead, from the horizon of this glar- ingly bright landscape, one was offered the beautiful tondos of Karen Kilimnik, including the snow queen causing a blizzard in Sibe- ria, 2008; Urs Fischer’s petrified sculpture, a still life combining ski boots and a dead tree branch that one might find after an avalanche; the hand imprint left by Ugo Rondinone in the wall (twelve sunsets, twenty nine dawns, all in one, 2008); or the small Untitled video, 2008, by Trisha Donnelly. If white, like black, is often considered to be a noncolor (in the same way that a continuous sound spectrum is white noise), in this set- ting it seemed to exhaust the infinite spectrum of its declensions. At times it was matte and pale, crushed by its own symbolic weight, as in Invisible Man, 1999, a painting by Tim Rollins & K.O.S. that echoes Ralph Ellison’s novel; at others it sparkled and gleamed, for instance in Doug Aitken’s hypnotic neon walkabout, 2008. Exploring the many shades of pale, this collaborative exhibi- tion (which opened during the FIAC art fair) also thumbed its nose at the myth of the discreet and unobtrusive gallery space. In presenting not just a white cube but a white cube squared, a pluperfect white cube that had absorbed even the works it was meant to enhance, “We Are Sun-kissed and Snow-blind” served as an ironic and elegant reminder that the supposed neutrality of exhibition spaces is but an illusion. -Claire Moulène Translated from French by Molly Stevens. April 10 to June 7, 2009 phot(o)bjects organized by Bob Nickas

PRESENTATION Featuring HOUSE Alan Belcher, Walead Beshty,Gil Blank, Jennifer Bolande, Tri- GALLERY sha Donnelly, Roe Ethridge, Guyton Walker, Rachel Harrison, Robert Heinecken, Matt Keegan, Annette Kelm, Louise Lawler, Carter Mull, Torbjorn Rødland, Alex Rose, Sam Samore, Wolfgang Tillmans ,Josh Tonsfeldt, Sara VanDerBeek, B. Wurtz

Beyond a carrier of an uninterrupted image, what else can a photograph be? This is the question at the center of this exhibition. With works in which an object that has been photographed becomes the support for the im- age — as in Alan Belcher’s playground tire swing that is wrapped around a tire swing hung from the ceiling, or Jennifer Bolande’s photo of plywood that has been mounted onto plywood as a rippled curtain — we have hybridized photo/objects. Rachel Harrison’s sculpture is frequently put to the service of displaying a photograph, or an image becomes yet another element in her three-dimensional “combines.” The installation of a photograph that takes into account both the image and its relation to space, as with Louise Lawler’s photographs of Andy Warhol’s “silver clouds,” hung high up and at tilted angles as if floating in the room, is also means to animate the photograph. Another question is inevitably raised: Beyond the camera, how else can a photograph be made? Here, we have camera-less works such as Wolfgang Tillmans’s “Lighter” series, pictures which are the result of accident, hav- ing been bent and crumpled as they came out of the printer. The resulting works, sculptural and revealing the photo’s reality as a sheet of paper, are presented in Plexiglas boxes. There are also pictures generated completely in the darkroom, such as those Walead Beshty makes by bending a sheet of photographic paper and exposing sections to various colored lights. The show includes photographs in which images have been overlaid or made to collide, as in the pioneering art of Robert Heinecken, who is represented by works from the early 1970s, and more recently with Roe Ethridge, whose pictures of pages from mail order catalogs taken on a light table can be seen as Surrealist double-image. The show accounts as well for works which seem to occupy the “normal” space of photography, a picture within a frame hung flat to the wall, and yet problematize accepted notions by way of the image itself, as when Gil Blank distances us from a polaroid that appears tacked to a wall that is a purely fictive location. Finally, there are pictures as negations of an image that deliver another one entirely, best illustrated by Sam Samore’s work in which photos have been put through a shredder and bagged for disposal, or Alex Rose’s haunting pictures of collages that he sets on fire, and as they burn we see them go up in smoke. Trisha Donnelly curated by Andrea Viliani MAMboMuseo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna 21st February - 13th April 2009

The exhibition conceived by Trisha Donnelly (San Francisco, 1974) for MAMbo - the artist’s first solo show to be hosted by an Italian museum - realizes itself as a critical and narrative solicitation of the museum’s function as well as of its own spaces-times. The exhibition features a site-specific architectural intervention which ghostly modify the perception of the overall museum and moves from there to different directions, intervening even on the communication modalities of the exhibition itself. Nevertheless any analytical description of Donnelly’s show at MAMbo can suffice as either an introduction to or a summary of it. Generated on another spatial and temporal plane (an audio video recording of the Baroque Teatro Anatomico at Bologna’s Archiginnasio Ubrary), the show lies outside of and moves toward and beyond its own spatial area and temporal momentum, intercepting and shifting on other symbolic as well as physical planes.

Trisha Donnelly investigates the way in which our thoughts are formed, our convictions, our experiences which generally contrast with what we understand as real and with what we think of as imaginary, and explores the subtle link between sensible and hypothetical. Her videos, drawings, installations, sound pieces, photographs and ‘demonstrations’ fill their space and time almost imperceptibly, they come to you unannounced or are placed in a way which appears haphazard. They are the point of departure for a narrative based on simulations or on the acknowledgment of fortuitous occurrences - like the rays of light generated erroneously or by chance by the camera while shooting - and allude to a “state” which is not clearly placed, or they foreshadow events that are insinuated but not revealed. By focusing on the multiple boundaries and levels of the work itself and evoking within the limited and artificial dimension of the institutional formats alternative experiences which are typically associated with natural or historical events, Donnelly’s artistic practice dwells in the interstitial space between information that provides and information that flows from it, areas where meaning is implied in other interpretations which, while expanding the emotional and cognitive impact of the information itself, become part of an unexpected, fluid, aerial movement of opening and potential meaning.

In keeping with a certain tradition of institutional critique and Conceptual Art Donnelly is in favor of a purification of the information that surrounds an exhibit which, like the works of the artist, represents an event which cannot be fully deciphered, an experience which requires a limited use of standardized or mediated means (“television versions”) in exchange for more evocative, personal ones which facilitate an experience imbued in the more intimate sphere of perception, memory, intuition. Within this context, this show and everything that surrounds or precedes it (press releases or advertising announcements, invitations, guides as this one, etc.) marks the beginning of what we could define as a e-Ioadr (say also “re enchantment”) of the space and time of the museum, the exhibit and the corollary institutional world. The work of American artist Trisha Donnelly (San Francisco, 1974) investigates the way in which our thoughts are formed, our convictions, our experiences which generally contrast with what we understand as real and with what we think of as imaginary. and explores the subtle link between sensible and hypothetical. Her videos, drawings, installations, sound pieces, photographs and ‘demonstrations’ fill their space and time almost impercepibly. They come to you unannounced or are placed in a way which appears haphazard. They are the point of departure for a narrative based on simulations or on the acknowledgment of fortuitous occurrences - like the rays of light generated erroneously or by chance by the camera while shooting - and allude to a “state” which is not clearly placed, or they foreshadow events that are insinuated but not revealed. By focusing on the multiple boundaries and levels of the work itself and evoking within the limited and artificial dimension of the institutional formats alternative experiences which are typically associated with natural or historical events. Donnelly’s artistic practice dwells in the interstitial space between information that provides and information that flows from it, areas where meaning is implied in other interpretations which, while expanding the emotional and cognitive impact of the information itself, become part of an unexpected. fluid. aerial movement of opening and potential meaning.

No analytical description of Donnelly’s show at MAMbo - the artist’s first solo show to be hosted by an Italian museum - can suffice as either an introduction or a summary. Generated on another spatial and temporal plane (an audio video recording of the Baroque Teatro Anatomico at Bologna’s Archiginnasio Library). The show lies outside of and moves toward its own spatial area and temporal momentum.

In keeping with a certain tradition of institutional critique and Conceptual Art Donnelly is in favor of a purification of the information that surrounds an exhibit which, like the works of the artist, represents an event which cannot be fully deciphered. An experience which requires a limited use of standardized or mediated means (“television versions”) in exchange for more evocative, personal ones which facilitate an experience imbued in the more intimate sphere of perception, memory, intuition. Within this context, this show and everything that surrounds or precedes it (press releases or advertising announcements. invitations, guides as this one, etc.) marks the beginning of what we could define as a re-Ioad (say also “re-enchantment”) of the space and time which are symbolic of the museum, the exhibit and the corollary institutional world.

Andrea Viliani (television version) I am writing along the basic parallel of these rooms I owe to the water veins that lay under this city.

The corridor was and is will always be necessary at the reached top of a set of steps, left and right to the mind of a leftward moving plow. I did not but the space warranted a soft peach strobe. Laidinto and semi-fresh.

I could go through like this and say \\\\ The first room is a view, long ache-r red line 4 teeth of the ancient future leaned up on their solid leg. The firstlish side room is greened by a new horizontal brain. Above mind and mine. The second is need for the mist, left leaning trees to guide the growth of the mountain, the creamed cloud is the back of one such. The third room handles all motion, the rise of man into celestial thoughts and the rotation of mis- takes. The point of the edge is The Rotation. But in it rests a new wave, in rapid line repeats one radiating face turned forwards to the atmosphere. Leave off the last room, all drawn scripts for tv-ish archive and a mechanical mind where I am and keep mine, California registration Delta 88. The apricot fantasy rests on a handle, necessary for the return call back to the coast. ////

This is the state of the rooms which are true and the stuff that one is at the end. Too. But there is a timing not rememberable, when a machine wrought sounds from shining the stone and were brought into a convent which used to hold sisters in growths of prayers and growths of worms, hired for silk. It was taken this machine at material and turned by the space of the space into a scaling metallic, a liquid principle at the center of which a silver blade swings massive in speed from left to right, reverses the direction of THIS space and breaks forward into the atmosphere in millions of flat thin static portions, a sideways rain, I see it in a celestial transit. Ladies of the space wrought the machine.

Coming from the double arms of the soft walls of a place like this.

I did not resist. March 2009 Trisha Donnelly Mambo, Bologna, Italy

The guiding principle behind Trisha Donnelly’s new project for MAMbo is the desire to render both the museum and the visitor’s experience of art captivating. The spatial and temporal ele- ments of the exhibition are enlivened by evoca- tive dilations and juxtapositions of architectural, visual and audio elements designed to create a narrative that operates on several semantic levels. The first work in the show is a small, black and white photograph (all works untitled; all 2009) of a female face partly obscured on one side by a soap bubble: the delicacy of this unfocused photo looks like a Donnelly’s invita- tion to the viewer to approach the exhibition with an inquisitive mind. A sense of unpredictability runs throughout the show, and can also be perceived in the next work, for which the artist has modified the architecture of the first, long gallery of the museum – a former bakery constructed next to the site of some now-subterranean streams. Donnelly has produced the sensation of energy flowing through the empty room, like the water in the underground channels, by her subtle modification of light in the space. She has reduced the long line of windows that flank one wall to narrow slots, so that only slivers of light penetrate the space, creating a stroboscopic effect that is intensified by the gloom within. Moulded by these fluctuations in light, the space seems elongated and merges with the next gallery, in which it is possible to discern only a long strip of red carpet on the floor, one edge of which has been roughly cut by the artist. The carpet wasn’t initially intended to be part of the project; it was only placed there dur- ing the installation of the show as a means of protecting the floor. However, as often happens in Donnelly’s work, unanticipated effects led the artist to modify her creative process. In the same room, a row of four large slabs of grey marble lean against a long wall opposite the obscured windows. Each slab is engraved with enigmatic designs that evoke abstract shapes or natural forms. Like screens, the slabs reflect both the light streaming in from outside and the shadows cast by the viewers that superimpose themselves onto the patterns in a game of chance invention. The exhibition presents a ‘reloading’ of details, both real and imagined, which stems in part from a preliminary work by Donnelly that involved mapping some of the places she had visited in Bologna. These include historical locations – such as the Anatomical Theatre of the Archig- innasio Library, the network of underground streams and the former bakery of MAMbo itself – as well as indirect conceptual influences, such as the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio Morandi (who is also showing at the museum), about whom the artist writes in the press release for the show, and the radio waves that penetrate the atmosphere (the inventor of the radio, Gug- lielmo Marconi, was born in the city). All these references are alluded to throughout the exhibi- tion in small-scale, black and white photographs as well as in one particular working process that Donnelly refers to as a ‘scannering’ of found im- ages, translated into video projections, drawings and marble or fabric objects. Donnelly’s aim is to reduce the information we receive from accepted codes and linguistic superstructures in an attempt to rekindle intu- ition, memory and free association. The works on display, for example, don’t have titles. Even at the level of institutional communication, Don- nelly’s focus is on developing a diverse narrative for the exhibition, personally producing the press release, the invitations and the visitors’ guide to promote a sui generis approach that combines the historical and the personal in an open dialogue. Marinella Paderni Translated by Ros Furness

Trisha Donnelly 01 August - 18 September 2008

Although Trisha Donnelly is a well-known and much admired artist, there are few who would find it easy to explain her work. Often containing a strong element of performance, Donnelly’s art uses video, sound, photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculpture to convey enigmatic states of consciousness.

When it is not overtly dramatic, Trisha Donnelly’s work is elusive; not infrequently it is barely visible or audible, with a subliminal impact that leaves us with a feeling that just beyond our ordinary understanding of the world lies something infinitely more strange and wondrous. Duchamp’s ideas about the ‘infra-mince’, Yves Klein’s absurdist metaphysics, and Bas Jan Ader’s doomed and self-deprecating mysticism provide a context for her artistic vision.

This project has had an unusual genesis and development. First suggested as a collaboration by Suzanne Cotter at Modern Art Oxford (where a sister exhibition took place last year), it took off on a tangent. Trisha and I have conducted an intermittent but engaged dialogue during the last few months, in which topics as diverse as the extraordinary explorer and writer, Isabelle Eberhardt, Uzbeki ikat textiles, the Huguenot cemetery in Dublin, and the films of Tarkovsky played their part. As a conse- quence of our discussions the exhibition will comprise a number of older pieces that I selected and some more recent work that has been chosen by Trisha.

John Hutchinson - July 2008

With thanks to Suzanne Cotter, Modern Art Oxfam, Loring Randolf, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich for their help in arranging this exhibition. Porter, Janelle. Trisha Donnelly. Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, 2008.

The Line Jenelle Porter

This is the installation: a wall with one long line of art works, three sound pieces, a sculpture, a text, light and the space itself.

What can be seen is at stake. -H.D.1

The exhibition can be approached from two entry points. The first view of the exhibition, though, is typically from a curtained entrance at the back corner of the gallery that divides Donnelly’s show from another exhibition space. The gallery is a large, white rectangle 63-feet deep by 39-feet wide. It is relatively empty. The two halves of the gallery are vastly different. The entry side has 15-foot exposed ductwork ceilings and two doorways. There is no lighting and it is quite dim. Here, it is like a vestibule. A doorway to the second-floor lobby is framed byHW , a sculp- ture, and the only freestanding work here, composed of two large, white fabric panels each with a mirror-image embroidered draw- ing. It is pulled apart, like a bracket, with each panel facing the other in reflection. The other half of the gallery has 39-foot walls extending to four bands of north-facing clerestory windows. This is an expansive, cathedral-like space. Only natural light and fluorescents in the window bays light the gallery. The brightness varies according to the time of day, and at night the quality of light from the fluores- cents is like twilight.

1. Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris, eds., Poems for th{ Millennium (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995),378. On the western wall of this lofty space is installed the line of art works. A doorway in the left corner interrupts this wall. The line begins immediately to its right edge. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos are installed, cheek by jowl, with an equal distance between them. The twenty-four art works, dating from 1998 to 2007, read chronologically from left to right, though there are several disturbances to the order. They align along a bottom edge, as if resting on an invisible shelf. One large photo, however, hangs above another, reaching high up the wall. The line of work performs two simultaneous functions. First, it is of a piece, an autonomous gesture. Second, it is an equalizing force. It could be said that no one work stands apart from the line, but it can also be said that each asserts itself. The line is one thing from far away, and another in proximity. It is an invitation. Part of one’s experience of the show is the distance one must walk from the gallery entrance-up to the line, as well as the movement of one’s body as it travels, along the length of the wall, from work to work. Every twenty minutes or so, one hears a sound piece. Three separate sound works are installed here, and one is played each day, at my discretion, on a loop. Dark Wind plays quite low, a wind that blows through the building; Oh Egypt is a loud, repeated chant; and Untitled (Bells) is a dis- tant chorus that seems to emanate from a nearby church. This book presents the line twice: once photographed by day, once by night. The photograph installed above the line, high on the wall, folds over the top of the paper, repro- duced upside-down on the opposite side. Two installation photos document the entire gallery from either end. The text piece, In the recombination of the not so vast distance (The vortex), was represented in the exhibition by a photocopied gallery handout with its accompanying sound recording ac- cessed by telephone. ... I watched enthralled from the empty deck as, every day, for the space of a few minutes, in all quarters of a horizon vaster than any had ever seen before, the rising and the setting of the sun presented the beginning, development and conclusion of supernatural cataclysms. If I could find a language in which to perpetuate those appearances, at once so unstable and so resistant to description, if it were granted to me to be able to commu- nicate to others the phases and sequences of a unique event which would never recur in the same terms, then-so it seemed to me-I should in one go have discovered the deepest secrets of my profession: however strange and peculiar the experiences to which anthropological research might expose me, there would be none whose meaning and importance I could not even- tually make clear to everybody. -Claude Levi-Strauss 2

The following annotated checklist describes the physical appearance of each work in the exhibiton, as installed, from left to right. Trisha Donnelly’s (TD) responses are set in italic. study for Danang, 2005 The Slowness, 2004 pencil on paper, 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches pencil on paper, 36 x 24 inches Collection of the artist Private collection, Toronto

A sheet of white letter-size paper hangs from a pin in each top A pencil drawing, on a large, pale, dull yellow sheet of paper corner. It is folded twice horizontally, as a letter is to fit into floating on an off-white mat in a simple black frame. An oblong an envelope. The creases are heavily worked like they were re- form descends from a point several inches below the top edge peatedly folded. On the top third of the paper is a line drawing of the paper. This form is a few inches long and shaped like of the side view of a wide-brimmed hat. The hat floats, as if a tongue. At the top, enhanced by shading, it is contoured as the wearer, turned in profile, were invisible. The penciled line along a ridge. In this way it looks like a waterfall descending is dark and thick, and sketchy in places. The underside of the from a concave edge. Drawn with tiny pencil lines, it is denser hat brim is shaded. Three straps hang from the underside, two at the top half of the form. Just below where this form tapers on the far side, one on the near. They form a loose knot a few is a capital letter N rendered in solid, dark pencil. The graphic, inches underneath the hat, then intertwine and dangle, ending simple typography extends its two long rectangular legs off the just above the bottom fold of the paper. lower edge. This letter N has long legs.

Untitled, 1998-99 Canada,2002 DVD projection, 4:30 minutes C-print, 16 x 19 3/4 inches Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris

A video is projected small on the wall from three feet away by A grainy black-and-white photograph pinned to the wall at each a video projector inside a white pedestal. The video documents top corner. A white border, quite wide at top and bottom but the fluid movement of a woman moving up and down in slow narrow on both sides, frames a picture of a coastline. The im- motion. She moves upward into the frame from the bottom age is divided into four horizontal bands: sky, land, water, water. (though we never see the ground), then down. She wears simple The frontal plane of water is bisected horizontally, the section white clothing: a long-sleeved, close-fitting T-shirt, loose pants in front darker than the smooth, silvery line that is the mid- and white high-top sneakers with black shoelaces and mark- dle ground. Two stems of vegetation poke vertically into the ings. Her dark brown hair is long and loose, and as she moves right foreground. The darkened tree-lined coast has few defin- into the frame her hair follows the arc of motion. She executes ing geographical characteristics. Its fog-enshrouded evergreen a choreographed gesture-an unidentifiable, but quite intention- trees rise slightly in elevation as they recede. The sky is white, al, movement. Though the video is dramatically slowed, the and curves around the hill like a bonnet. movements occur in quick succession and last between eight and eleven seconds each. There are twenty different gestures, then the video repeats on a loop. It is mesmerizing and sooth- ing, like watching a small fire, or the ocean. California, 2004 The Vibration Station, 2002 8mm film transferred to DVD, 20 minutes silver gelatin print, 4 x 5 inches Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Collection of Bob Nickas

A video is projected small on the wall from three feet away by A black-and-white photograph over-matted with off-white a video projector inside a white pedestal. The image is divided board and framed in dark gray painted wood. The photo shows vertically, and equally, into three fields, each with an animated the pipe section of a large pipe organ. The image is flipped up- white element against a black background. All three elements side-down, creating an unusual disorientation. The pipes rise are pixelated and degenerated as if repeatedly, digitally manipu- and descend in ranks. The form of the organ, which sweeps out- lated. At either side is a seemingly identical (though possibly ward from a narrower base, is tightly cropped. The upsidedown flipped and tilted) image of a white, tubular ring. These pen- organ is turned into a chandelier, a hanging form that feels as dant rings tilt outward from one another. Each is enclosed in a if it were swinging toward the viewer. Strong vertical elements square (with the fourth side completed by the outer edge of and a dark background, with blacks and whites mixing elegantly the video projection) formed by a lighter hue of black from the with silvery grays, dominate the image. The grays of the base/ middle component. The ring’s opening is collapsed, forming a top are echoed at the bottom of the photograph. The forms tight ellipse. A horizontal bar, short in relation to the height of mimic one another. the ring, bisects each ring. The rings vibrate and shake, recede TD: This is The Vibration Station. and advance. They distract, pulling one’s eyes outward in oppos- ing directions. The centerpiece is a flickering word, “Frances,” Untitled, 2005 written in a curving upper - and lower -case font. The video has C-print, 24 1/2 x 17 inches a flatness to it, moving beyond two dimensions into one. Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris TD: This is a transmission. A white-bordered photograph, pinned to the wall at its four The Hand That Holds the Desert Down, 2002 comers, of black gloves against a black backdrop. The only silver gelatin print, 5 x 7 inches tonal variation in the inky surface comes from a subtle sheen Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris on the leather gloves, a glint that emanates from a single illumi- nating source off to the right. The long gloves stand upon their A small black - and - white photograph adhered directly to the fingers, just to the left of center, bearing downward forcefully. wall. The tones are very light, silvery grays. A white border The hands are tightly clasped and oddly disorientating. The frames an image of a striated mound. A minute dot pattern- front hand’s fingers are pressed firmly into the ground, with the ing indicates-that the image was photographed from a book or middle finger bent backwards at an extreme angle. The gloves newspaper. The picture appears to be a close-up of a massive end abruptly-deprived of actual arms, perhaps - just short or stone ruin. The stone is striated horizontally and tapers down the top of the photo. to the left. A tubular form comes from around the back and TD: It is still not the time to talk about this. curves upward to the right, hanging over a long flat shape at the side (in the foreground) that has four curved indentations at its Untitled, 2006 end (like a paw). The meeting point of the rough mound and pencil on paper, 16 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches the smooth foreground ceates a strong line... Collection of the artist TD: And this is the Hand that Holds the Desert Down. And I have this as a recurring image: if the back paw of Ramses were to lift, the desert An off-white sheet of paper pinned to the wall at each top cor- would rise up into the atmosphere grain by grain. ner. (The right-hand pin also holds the drawing immediately to the right.) A small pencil drawing is located just above center. A fine and sure vertical line begins, then curves to the right, then back, before continuing straight down. A spear-like fonn push- es at the curve from the left. Two motion lines radiate from this point. On the right of this push out vertically stacked capital letters spell RHOMBERG. Just above the R and below the G are decorative flourishes. Untitled, 2007 Untitled, 2003 pencil on paper, 16 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches latex balloons and acrylic, 36 x 18 inches Courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

An off - white sheet of paper pinned to the wall at each top cor- A shallow, rectangular acrylic box hangs by two metal, L-shaped ner. (The left-hand pin also holds the drawing to the left.) From hooks. The backless box rests flush against the wall. Inside are near the top left-hand comera thick, modeled line descends at a suspended two long, matte black balloons of approximately the sharp angle toward the center of the paper. This gray, spear-like same length, centered top to bottom. They are attached at a form ends at a point and pierces a diaphanous form rendered single point at the top where the balloons are tied shut. From in pale blue pencil. It is barely discernible, with only a few lines there, they curve slightly outward, then taper toward each creating an oblong, shape-shifting entity. At its top, blue hatch other at the bottom, like a wishbone,· or an upside-down V. lines trickle down as if around a domed-shaped object. Upsidedown victory. TD: 44 DT HANOI is 44 days to Hanoi. Found a friend in this mis- Untitled, 2007 faced “victory.” For all intensive purposes. C-print, 10 x 8 inches Collection of the artist Untitled, 2007 foam rubber, 47 1/4 x 29 inches A black-and-white photograph affixed directly to the wall. A Collection of the artist white border wider at top and bottom than at the sides frames the image. In a classical motif, heavy drapery hangs vertically A rectangular piece of brownish-green foam hangs on the wall, and sweeps horizontally across a surface, as if on a bed. The ma- bowing outward slightly as if breathing. The slab is composed terial is thick enough to crease and wrinkle and carry form. The of two layers, and its edges are quite rough as if sawed with a drapery is stained and spotted, though the graininess of the im- dull blade. The foam’s appearance is porous, fleshy and matte. age permits that the photo itself may be the thing stained. The There is some discoloration and fading at the edges. A com- drapery on the left is of slightly darker hue, and here and there plex sequence of shapes carved into the surface dominates the black background peeps through. On the right is a rounded the top half of the foam. A horizontal line curves downward shape that sharply contrasts with the long lines of drapery. It vertically at both sides, then turns under to create an upside- looks like a darkened face, in profile as if reclining. It is partly down squared U-shape. Within these edges the foam is roughly enshrouded in a tightly wrapped, thin white cloth. gouged out, creating a depression below the true surface. In the center of this area, a line rises to a soft peak at which point it Untitled, 2001 meets the topmost horizontal line. Under this peak two lines, C-print, 5 x 7 inches stacked horizontally, are deeply cut. The top line is straight; Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris the bottom’s ends curve around the top line like a smile on a mouth. Under the center of these two lines begin two deeply A black-and-white photo affixed directly to the wall. A white carved horizontal lines. They move outward horizontally for a border frames the image of a rock jutting out of water. Waves few inches then curve softly and continue vertically downward eddying around its base suggest it is an ocean rock. The rock before tapering off. The left-hand line ends, then resumes as a rises from the left, descends, rises even higher to a peak, shallowly carved line. Just underneath where those two lines descends deeply, then rises and plateaus creating a slightly began is a series of curving forms. Five small lines cut into the rounded third peak. The top of the rock is slightly lighter than foam arch upward and fold over themselves, like canes. They its sides. The shape of the rock suggests a woman’s head and vary in size, with the longest in the middle and the remaining torso in profile, as if floating on the surface of the water. four decreasing in size as they move outward. Pencil tracings TD: This is a film that maintains just one image. follow their top curves on all but the leftmost form. Finally, two side-by-side vertical lines descend below the cane-shaped forms. Each is deeply gouged with a long groove running the length of each interior section. TD: I rolled this around for a month and nothing was seen until now I suppose. To cut foam is a sideways peel after a deep cut. I can’t help but think it would be a good way for doctors to practice. without damaging flesh. It is like flesh carved away. I saw it on wheels as a lamp on a path. A materialized punctuation. A Hades mile-marker? Only by film-set misuse I guess. If you were filming The Frogs or something like that. More it was a carved form with all revealed by a penetrating light from within its two faces. The D from W, 2005 Hedm!,2005 C-print, 13 1/2 x 9 inches pencil on paper, two sheets, 40 x 27 1/2 inches each Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Linda Pace Collection, San Antonio, Texas

A black-and-white photograph with a white border is affixed to A large sheet of peach-colored paper is pinned to the wall. A the wall. A figure in three-quarter profile stands at the center of rectangular pencil drawing is centered on the paper. Overlap- the image, its head erased by a wide band of black that begins ping hatch marks create a wave-like, random patterning across at the figure’s shoulders and extends to the top of the photo. the surface of this form, darker in some places, and lighter in A pendant black band begins just below the figure’s feet and others. A jagged line, an area of the paper devoid of pencil, be- extends to the bottom of the photo. The photo is pixelated gins in each top corner of the form. These two lines move down- like a video still, or as if it were photographed with the camera ward and almost converge, creating a funnel shape that extends quite close to a window screen. The tonal distortions indicate the length of the form. At the bottom left edge, it broadens as the photo was printed in negative. The figure is dressed in a bil- if emptying out. The pencil shading is lighter within the two lowing, kimono-style white robe. The cut of the robe is formal, lines. On the right side of this form, a few nearly invisible trace with wide, banded sleeves, and a dark scarf hanging loosely at lines describe ragged arcs. the neck. The figure holds in each hand a long sword, angled A row of four oval shapes, evenly spaced, is-situated in the downward, the tips hovering just above the ground. The ground top third of the pencil area. They glow a bright golden color, as on which the figure stands stock-still is of varying textures and if lit from behind. In each oval is a letter drawn backwards in planes. A hazy, broken white line stretches across the photo, a stylized script reminiscent of Blackletter, an old, traditional running behind the figure, and bisecting it in two. German font. From left to right they read: m, d, e, h. Were it TD: This is the Distance from War. The orbital warrior: no feet no not for the title these would be difficult to decipher. The m is mind. followed by an exclamation point; the remaining letters by a comma shape. The letters slant left and right, as if bobbing Untitled, 2005 in their golden orbs. The lights are a broadcast, a semaphore pencil on paper, 26 x 20 inches from afar. Courtesy of Air de Paris, Paris TD: “Herr, Ebarme Dich Meiner!” it states. And is. A fall forward. My lord have mercy on me. A pale purple-gray piece of paper is affixed directly to the wall at the top. The bottom hangs freely. A large section of the paper The Receiver, 2006 has been torn away, beginning at the middle top and curving ink and pencil on paper, 8 sheets, 153/4 x 11 3/4 inches each toward the bottom left side. On the remaining right top half is Private collection, Brussels a pencil drawing of an angled, rectangular form with a hard di- agonal line at the top that curves just slightly over, and a ragged Eight sheets of paper, one atop the other, are pinned to the edge at bottom. The form looks likes a waterfall excised from wall at both top corners. A drawing of a robe rendered in blue its particular geography. The drawn lines are mostly vertical and ink over sketchy gray pencil lines is centered on the paper. The of even shading. garment floats aloft, capturing the shape of an active, gesturing TD: The absent portion of this is in the hands of someone who keeps it body. It is as if the body has evaporated. One sleeve crosses the from the piece here.Can it be that the fall of water regenerates its own front of the body, from right to left. On its chest drawn in pen- gravity? The fall towards a missing register. cil is a capital letter R. A multitude of straight lines create the outside edges of the letter, radiating out from its formed edges. The R is a silhouette only, missing its center. TD: The receiver. All in all an electric word. The receipt of return is invited. Radiated out from positions harvested from bodiless bodies. R.E.C.E.I.VE.R. Spanned over eight weeks. A blinking guide. Re- ceiver. The Bent Touch, 2006 Satin Operator (9), 2007 lambda print, 36 x 10 inches C-prints, thirteen photographs, 62 1/2 x 44 inches each edition of 4 (one exhibited); edition of 5 Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris

A black - and - white photo is affixed directly to the wall. The A large, white-bordered, black-and-white photo is pinned to image is a white box sited just off center, inside a long, narrow the wall at each top comer. It hangs freely, slightly curving away black rectangle. Five white dots float near the top: one each from, then back toward the wall at the bottom. The image, a at left and right, and three slightly higher and in the center warped vertical form against a flat, medium gray background, is clustered to shape an inverted triangle. Immediately left of tightly cropped at top and bottom. The center form is mostly the three-dot cluster, a gray, brushy streak begins and stripes gray but for a white, indiscernible shape. A black-and-white vertically to the bottom. Where it intersects the white box it photo (it has a telltale white border) wraps around a tubular ob- flares outward like a smudge. In the white box are twenty-nine ject. At the top; clear plastic bubble wrap peeks out. After sev- frames of a filmstrip. Near the top the frames are quite dark eral vertical inches, the tube twists and bends dramatically in a and murky. Only perceptible in a few lighter frames near the downward motion, to the right-not physically ·but digitally. It is bottom is a dog on a lawn. The sprocket holes run along the stretched and blurred. The form seems to vibrate in this mostly right side. The strip follows alongside the gray stripe but bends white, warped area. The tube then straightens just enough to to the right, like light through a prism. squarely meet the bottom of the photo. TD: I shot a film of an Afghan dog. It ran around in a circle all lines of hair and bones. At one point the dog would reach up to a step and jump Untitled II (Peralta), 2007 after his first leg touched. In searching it closer with a scanner (cause = C-print, 62 1/2 x 44 inches broken editing machine), the touch itself in the film when bent caused a edition of 5 beam of light to form, radiating like an optical object. Courtesy of the artist; Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris People talk about absence. I think that a whiteness or a raditation like this is more /not yet/. The register of the sun by the eyes would lead A large, white-bordered, black-and-white photo is pinned to the you to believe absence. Instead, it is the incapability as of yet to see the wall at each top corner. It hangs down freely, slightly curving forward moving thing. The sun is unviewable. Not yet arrived. The away from, then back toward the wall at the bottom. Though beam is a forecast. Not absent object. the image is in color, it is primarily colorless. The surface is quite shiny, streaky and largely black, however within the inky blacks are reds and yellows, which heighten background depth. A round, golden, shiny form dominates the middle of the im- age, just below center. It is convex at its rim, but recedes at the center, like a horn if one looked directly into its flaring bell. A white horizontal rectangle lies atop this form, a piece of paper perhaps. Its reflection in the shiny section curves the edges. In a stylized, incomplete typography letters spell PERALTA. Above this are three horizontal receding bands drawn in pencil. They echo the number of letters and relative shapes of PERALTA, though they taper so drastically as to make the forms illegible. They are echoes and shadows of PERALTA. From the center left of the golden circle a very bright form flares upward. It is intensely colored: orange at its base, then yellow, then white as it moves inward, and finally blue as it tapers. TD: My sense of this pile was begun from its farthest point. My eyes felt inadequate so I used a bigger, slower camera with a roll of light that moves and takes in two ways. This image from all was an anchor as if the roll had to or would stop in any image at any time – this Peralta would be its register. What the lens would see as its reflection if it was cryogenically paused. Peralta. In repeat by still. Untitled, 2007 Untitled, 2005 enamel on fabric, 53 x 35 inches C-print, 7 x 5 inches Collection of the artist Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris

A large, acid-green fabric-covered rectangle hangs on the wall. A black - and - white photograph is affixed directly to the wall. Its surface is slightly shiny and its texture allows a play of color It is snapshot-scale and bordered by white. The image is of a depending on the light. The surface appears soft and puffs out, man in a bay window, shot from a distance outside the building. with the velvety fabric puckered on the sides where it meets This architectural feature is centered in the photo, with the top the backing surface. Centered at the top half are painted three of a doorway opening discernible underneath, and a standard solid black shapes, two atop the third. Two horizontal black window just above, of which we can see only the bottom sill lines lie next to each other on a plane. The left-hand line is a and a bit of glass. The wall of the building, made from rough- long black dash, tapering in from the left, and growing in thick- cut stone and mortar, is of a style that betrays not only its age ness as it moves right. It is not completely level. The second but its probable European locale. The window bay is paneled form is a horizontal line that drips down on the left. On the on the bottom half with windows on three sides. The interior right, it tapers, ending in three short, oblong dots, like an el- hosts a rear opening and a round ceiling light fixture. The front lipse. The bottommost form is a face-down L-shape; the long is a large seamless pane with utility wires criss-crossing in re- stem becomes the horizontal plane. The angle created is filled flection. The camera-side window (the photo is taken from a with black paint, as if it had been bulldozed haphazardly into three-quarters angle) reflects the stone facade. The man in the this comer. window, judging from the scale of the structure, appears to be TV: There is no memory complete at times. When I rebuild the flat pho- sitting with his hands clasped high in front of his chest. He tographic it begins in triplicate from the left hand side. And pulls its wears a dark cap and sunglasses. Despite his dark lenses, there way down into total. This is the beginning of the three that is the flat is no doubt that he stares directly at the camera lens. photographic. If that is clear. TV: Man in the window. It has a use.

Untitled, 2005 pencil on paper, 27 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches Collection of the artist

A white piece of paper is attached to the wall with a pin at each top comer. From the top of the paper, at center, two thickly drawn, sketchy lines are drawn vertically. Part way down the page the lines become a modeled and shaded tube-like shape, a rope. This ends in a loose knot, the frayed end of the rope peeking out from under the final loop of the knot with lines of the rope extend in an outward angle from the knot, meeting a horizontal tube at either end, and forming a triangle. It is a handle and on its left side are the tiny letters JRO. TD: My ripcord. Dark Wind, 2001 embroidered cotton and steel, two panels, audio CD, 30 seconds 140 x 43 1/2 x 3 inches each Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

The sound of a strong wind howling through structures. Two large, crisp, rectangular white textile panels stand upright. TD: The transformative sound. Of a western too. The character turns A hidden armature holds them erect. The panels sit loosely at this sound from one state to the next. A lonely form this wind that on their frames and billow slightly near the bottom. On the when it lays down is a current. top half of each panel is embroidered, in black and royal blue thread, thin lines and letters. The panels are mirror images of Oh Egypt, 2004 one another. The first panel features at the left four curving audio CD, 3:30 minutes lines, embroidered in blue thread, increasing in size from left to Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris right. The lines curve in a C-shape toward the right. They face four long rectangles, outlined in black thread. The lines are im- A loud, excruciatingly-slowed voice chants, almost indecipher- perfect, their thicknesses varying according to the embroidery. ably were it not for the title of the work. It calls fourteen times. These descend in size from left to right, tops angled down and Each time the chant is slightly different. bottoms angled up. Underneath the first and third boxes are two tiny letters: first a W then an H. The second panel reads Untitled (Bells), 2007 exactly the opposite, with the black outlined rectangles angling audio CD, 1:52 minutes upward left to right, and the blue lines curving outward from it Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris on the right. The letter H lies below the second box; the letter W under the fourth. These two panels are positioned perpen- The sound of church bells from a block away. Several gongs are dicular to a doorway, one on each side. followed by a jaunty tune. TD: A Harvest of Waves. Is what this is. TD: Nice. I like that it is a block. By my head it was never but just orbiting, but now I prefer a block. Describes many things for me. I build January 17, 2008, 6pm them all with their proximity in an undermind. I know that they are During the opening night tour, Donnelly, while answering my distant by time and mindset but that they all build like a perpetual grid. questions and offering her own comments on the exhibition, HW, 2007 executed an action. Without explanation, she removed the lid of a long, narrow cardboard box and removed a large roll of quilted, black vinyl fabric. She laid it on the ground and un- rolled it to reveal a black samurai sword. She unsheathed the blade, then the handle dagger, placing sheath, sword and dag- ger side by side atop the fabric. As soon as this was complete she reversed the sequence, sliding dagger, then sword into the sheath, rolling it back into the fabric, closing the box, and exit- ing the gallery with the package. Trisha Donnelly tends to deal in displace- ment, homing in on barely communicable transcendent or Liminal experiences. The San Francisco-based artist’s work includes video of herself performing a rain dance and imitating a rock star’s onstage euphoria; blunt, documentarystyle photographs of the dancer Frances Flannery enacting a baffling ritual; allusive yet maddeningly obscure semiabstract drawings; and such interventions as sounding two brief cascades of organ music at the start and finish of gallery hours, thereby opening up a caesura. Accordingly, churls might call Donnelly’s art a tease. What it feels like, thoughas her first major UK show, consisting entirely of one large, interlinked instal- larion, will likely evince-is the output of someone who, not content with bookish charter about the economy of desire, instead strategizes to register its effects on our shortchanged selves. -Martin Herbert .com March 13, 2008

Alan G Artner Mystery over mastery Trisha Donnelly, who has an installation at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, is a special case even on today’s scene, where people take so much contemporary art on faith. The San Francisco artist, in her early 30s, cre- ates paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, sound pieces, installations and performances, not seeking mastery in any media nor aspiring to communicate with an audience. Whatever Donnelly does, she does because she can, and whatever meaning the results have may either be divined by her audience or not, as she doesn’t make statements about the work and doesn’t care to have anything in it show why all the parts necessarily go together. The response at higher reaches of the contemporary art world has been to give Donnelly exhibitions and, then, stand amazed at how what’s in them is still not quite explained by the strategies organiz- ers and critics have attributed. Everybody ends up being mystified to some degree, which, of course, is fine for the artist as long as everybody continues to believe in the mystery. Donnelly’s work at the Renaissance Society will test that faith. It plays with the hall and gallery in ways that may seem familiar to anyone who has seen shows where the space itself became the work of art. But the interventions she has made do not appear intended to heighten visitors’ awareness of a showplace for art as much as to elevate its banal secondary function as a space for congregation. For the opening last month, Donnelly staged a “dance party” that included such rituals as the passing out of leis and a reading. The thought that few look at art during an exhibition opening presumably led her to eliminate all freestanding interior walls as well as to banish her drawings, carvings and a video to the margins of the room. She also removed fluorescent tubes from recessed hall lights; replaced objects in vitrines with two identical abstract photographs; took out four windows from their frames; and concealed a recording of church bells (which plays every 15 minutes) in an air-conditioning duct. Benches of the sort that often occupy the space are upended, becoming white monoliths. The seat of one is a screen for a silent projection, apparently of digitized movement of liquid. A pair of Don- nelly’s slight abstract drawings is affixed to the undersides of all the benches, facing the bays like refractory children standing in corners. A minimal drawing is also on a large, leather-like sheet draped over a desk chair visible from the gallery entrance. And, invisible to viewers, is a screen saver on office computers that documents a small, semiprivate reading Donnelly gave at the swimming pool of the Powhatan Apartments, an Art Deco masterpiece in the neighborhood. How does all this add up? That’s for you to figure out. Exacting about many things, the artist has been indifferent to many others, perhaps out of confidence that those who support her provocations will offer suitably large and sophisticated interpretations that go to the heart of contemporary art making. Seek and thou shalt find. It is what the faithful always do. “Trisha Donnelly” continues at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis Ave., through April 6. Call [emailprotected] Droitcour, Brian. “Picks: Philadelphia: Trisha Donnelly”, Artforum Online. Trisha Donnelly July 29, 2008

ICA - INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, PHILADELPHIA University of Pennsylvania, 118 South 36th Street January 18–August 3

Jerry Saltz wrote that Trisha Donnelly is a good artist who doesn’t “mount good gallery shows.” Perhaps only a public institution has the patience to let her hang her work right. In this churchlike installation, her works, as ever, are like icons—flat portals to the transcendental. A photograph of a sphinx paw that supposedly keeps grains of sand from float- ing into the air in The Hand That Holds the Desert Down, 2002; an organ with its pipes installed seemingly pointing downward, so that its music can be felt through the floor, de- picted in The Vibration Station, 2002; and twenty-two other works are all arranged as if in an asymmetrical iconostasis. The line they create jags across one wall of the well-lit, nar- row atrium. In the adjacent dim, low-ceilinged space, speak- ers emit haunting sound pieces, including a howling wind, a chant slowed to a rumble, and a carillon’s peals from afar. The show’s evocation of the sacred models the viewer’s perception of the works to align it with the artist’s own.

The atmosphere of reverence discourages discussion of the Untitled, 2005, color irreverent thread in Donnelly’s work, but to ignore it would photograph, 7 x 5”. be misleading. After all, her art does not construct an actual system of belief. Rather, it suggests that she, like a synes- thetic, is endowed with an uncanny cognition, only instead of blending colors and pitches, she sees eternity in oddities. In the last century, nondenominationally transcen- dent art was austere abstraction, and while Donnelly’s works can’t always be called figurative—her rejection of mimesis is partly what makes them like icons—they include some plain, earthy elements that allow for ambiguous humor. There is the wide-brimmed, ribboned hat floating in Study for Danang, 2005; the pea-green hue of the velvety fabric in Untitled, 2007; the grumpy man glimpsed on his balcony in Untitled, 2005. Oddly enough, the exhibition best achieves its sacral effect when approached through the back door—not the well-marked entrance that opens onto a sidelong view of the pieces, but one that connects the dim rear chamber to the next gallery. The viewer can pass from empty darkness into the luminous row of artworks only by going the wrong way. — Brian Droitcour CHICAGO March 27 - April 2, 2008 Issue 161

Michelle Grabner Critic’s Rating

Trisha Donnelly Renaissance Society, through Apr 6.

Trisha Donnelly has brought a breath of fresh air to the Renaissance Society... literally: During her performance-cum-reception on February 24, Donnelly opened the gallery’s windows-which overlook the U. of C.’s main quadrangle-and left them that way, defying our relentless Midwestern winter. This gesture, counterintuitive and impractical, was remarkable in itself. It’s also the only remaining trace of Donnelly’s performance, except for several sketches, two chairs and some projection equipment. Donnelly never photographs her performances, and accounts of the opening vary. But what we do know is that she choreographed the reception to resemble a semiformal co*cktail party with tuxedo-clad staff, an open bar, loud music and colorful leis made of fresh flowers. And Renaissance Society curator Hamza Walker read poetry. Our trip to observe the grimy after-party floor didn’t lead to regrets over missing the opening, nor did the sparse drawings and nippy lake breeze blowing through the gal- lery lead to a compelling poetic or philosophical encounter. But Donnelly’s postmedium practice is designed to rewire an understanding of experience as commodity: The strength of her undertaking lies in language-- the tales and rumors offered up by curi- ous art enthusiasts and eager students. Visitors who see Donnelly’s project out of context may ask to have their parking reim- bursed. It’s at its aesthetic and conceptual best when you hear about it from a friend who heard about it from a friend. The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

Trisha Donnelly February 24 - April 06, 2008 As Free As the Squirrels

No other humanist discipline has undergone as rigorous a self-examination as the visual arts. Well above and beyond an investigation into the nature of its being, the field of art has gone so far as to canonize works of so-called “anti-art.” From the 1917 debut of Duchamp’s infamous Fountain, which consisted of simply a urinal bearing a signature, to the sustained assault on visuality waged by conceptual artists, art by all accounts should have succumbed to its self-willed dismantling quite a while ago. Needless to say, this has yet to pass. Through earnest efforts artists have, however, expanded art’s definition to the point where art is no longer a discrete class of objects or activities but instead a way of looking; art as a process of self-reflexive meaning-making, one that need not be mediated by illusionistic representation. A small tin of sh*t proudly produced and canned by the artist, Piero Manzoni himself, or a piece of candy courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres are but two beautiful birds in a forest of signs that would render our existence legible. But despite exercising its right to remain silent, gregariously flirting with the irrational, and reveling in illegibility, art is still plagued with making sense in what is less a forest of signs and more a semiotic jungle as any and all things may assume a meaning no longer reserved for the more traditional work of art.

Tell me why the ivy twines? As if Trisha Donnelly’s art needs a reason. Like ivy, Donnelly’s work is as it does. Now that art is no longer a privi- leged site of meaning, Donnelly is as free as the squirrels to produce art whose justification would be its mere existence. Given that meaning may be produced with or without it, Donnelly is the first to admit that no one needs her art. In exchange, she has carte blanche to roam the highways, byways and interstellar lo-ways of thought with nary a care as to what makes sense save to her.

Calling hers a ‘body’ of work is almost claiming too much coherence for a highly heterogeneous output that includes drawings, photographs, audio works, sculptures, events (Donnelly is very wary of the term performance), and videos. Although it is tempting to cast her as the consummate post-medium artist, in her case that is already an over-determined category, for Donnelly genuinely has no medium. If anything she is a pre-medium artist, where “medium” could just as soon refer to a psychic. Not overly concerned with form, her art is the precipitate of a belief system fashioned within a web of signification where logic and superstition are virtually indistinguishable. When posed before any of her work, the question of why becomes interchangeable with why not. Donnelly has developed a form of martial arts and given lectures describing an alternate dimension. The latter, entitled THE 11th PRISMATIC, betrays her penchant for the rites and rituals of explanation in a broader sense.

While much of the work is performative in nature, Donnelly avoids any relationship to an audience that the designation “performance artist” might imply. In addition, Donnelly’s art, for all its freedom, tends to assume relatively conventional forms. In this respect it is very much leg- ible as an art that, once slandered for being cryptic and hermetic, would now cite these terms as new-found inalienable rights. Any charges of obscurity are predicated on a claim to disclosure that Donnelly never undersigned. Instead, Donnelly would take stock in an artistic legacy whose liberatory potential has become, by her standards, over-burdened with a self-consciousness symptomatic of an excess of meaning; an excess she would prefer to convert into beliefs ranging from quizzical to outlandish. The result is an art that can be whatever. Accordingly, what she may do when invited to exhibit is often anyone’s guess. The choice of attire (co*cktail, festive, proper, black tie) for attendance at the opening, per TD, is yours.

Author: Hamza Walker


The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to present the first survey exhibition of Trisha Donnelly’s work, and her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S, on view January 18 – August 3, 2008. Using sculpture, drawing, photographs, text, sound, video, and painting, Donnelly will compose a new installation in the second floor gallery with works made between 1998 and 2007. Over the course of the installation works will shift and change.

Donnelly’s ineffable body of work resists simple characterization. A lexicon of imagery and action relies on the power of sugges- tion: what is the most economical gesture that can evoke thoughts of, for example, Napoleonic Wars? How can sound create form? Can a word plant the artist in our conscious? These gestures are catalysts, and this is the gist of Donnelly’s work. Unit- ing her work in various media are gestures of altered time, shifters, dimensional explorations, evocation, perception, and belief structures.

Time is crucial to her work: a drawing may ask us to slow down, a sound piece may stretch a phrase interminably, a video presents an action in slow motion, a photograph freezes a turn of the torso. The pause allows for shifts in time, both in the pres- ent, and in its call to historical shifters—moments in history when “history was written.” Time collapses. The organization of this exhibition asks the artist herself to pause and look back at several years of work.

Donnelly is a San Francisco-based artist (b. 1974, and lives San Francisco). Her work is well known in the contemporary art world, but is still seldom seen outside highly defined contexts. As most of her major exhibitions have occurred in Europe, this exhibition allows viewers who have not experienced firsthand much of her work to see it for the first time. And seeing this work firsthand is crucial to the questions Donnelly’s work pursues. The work requires your presence.

Since completing her MFA at Yale in 2000, Donnelly has had solo projects at Modern Art Oxford (2007), Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2006), Kunsthalle Zurich (2005), Kolnischer Kunstverein (2005), and ArtPace, San Antonio (2005). She has been included in numerous group exhibitions: “Uncertain States of America,” AstrupFearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (traveled) (2005); “Day for Night,” 2006 Whitney Biennial, New York; “Of Mice + Men: 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art,” Berlin (2006); and 54th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004). She teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute and is a visiting critic at Yale. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum, Walker Art Center, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, among others.

This exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Jenelle Porter and is accompanied by a catalog publication documenting the installation and will be available after the exhibition opens.

We gratefully acknowledge generous support of the American Center Foundation, the Harpo Foundation and ICA’s Leadership Circle: Robert Kirkpatrick & John Wind, Meredith & Bryan Verona, Elizabeth A. Asplundh, Floss Barber, Inc., Jill & Sheldon Bonovitz, Ellen & Stephen Burbank, Cecile & Christopher J. D’Amelio, Mary & Anthony B. Creamer, III, Barbara & David Farley, Glenn R. Fuhrman, Fury Design, Inc., Suzanne & Jeffrey Koopman, Gabriele W. Lee, Margery P. Lee, Paul Pincus, Marguerite Rodgers, Ltd., Leah Popowich & Andrew Hohns, Alec Rubin & Phillip Chambers, Cindy L. Shaffran & Gary Schwartz, Laura Steinberg Tisch Foundation, Inc. and Dina & Jerry Wind. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Penn- sylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation, Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. (Information complete as of 12/21/07.) Gallery notes

Second floor: January 18-August 3, 2008 TRISHA DONNELLY

Picture a pause. Now pause. Time, literally and metaphorically, is a signature of Trisha Donnelly’s work. A drawing requests slowness, a sound piece stretches a phrase interminably, a video presents an action in slow motion, a photograph freezes a turn of the torso. This pause generates shifts, fractures, and collapses in time, both in the present and in time’s historical reverberations.

This exhibition requests time. In keeping with the performative function of her work, from drawings to demonstrations, Donnelly casts the exhibition as an agent. Using sculpture, drawing, photographs, text, sound, video, and painting, Donnelly composed this installation, her first U.S. solo museum exhibition, using works made between 1998 and 2007. This survey installation yields a new work of art, one thoughtfully hewed from the past.

The works on display, all but one sculpture and three audio works presented on a single, soaring wall, propose a reconfiguration of the past constructed from a rigorous, highly personal selection of works. What transpired was the manifestation of a highly collaborative conversation between artist and curator. Finally, this show proposes that the compression of different types of exhibitions can yield an en- tirely new kind of exhibition and artwork simultaneously.


Trisha Donnelly (b. 1974 and lives San Francisco) has had solo projects at Modern Art Oxford (2007), Por- tikus, Frankfurt am Main (2006), Kunsthalle Zurich (2005), Kolnischer Kunstverein (2005), and ArtPace, San Antonio (2005). She has been included in numerous group exhibitions. Donnelly teaches at the San Fran- cisco Art Institute and is a visiting critic at Yale. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum, Walker Art Center, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modem, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, among others.

A catalog will be produced for the exhibition The World as a Stage 24 October 2007—6 January 2008

The World as a Stage brings together a key group of international, contemporary artists whose works investigate ideas of ‘theatre,’ staging and performance.

This is the first exhibition at Tate Modern to bring the realm of performance into dialogue with gallery-based work. The World as a Stage includes numerous large installations, sculptures, performances, participatory works and events and several new pieces made specifically for the exhibition.

The artists featured are Pawel Althamer, Cezary Bodzianowsky, Ulla von Brandenberg, Jer- emy Deller, Trisha Donnelly, Geoffrey Farmer, Andrea Fraser, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jeppe Hein, Renata Lucas, Rita McBride, Roman Ondák, Markus Schinwald, Tino Sehgal, Catherine Sullivan and Mario Ybarra Jr.

In different ways, the works frame the viewer’s presence in the gallery and point to everyday activity in the world as a form of theatre; reconsidering the baroque notion of ‘the world as a stage’ in the twenty-first century.

Trisha Donnelly June 7 - 13, 2007 Issue 610

Detail from “Satin Operator” Casey Kaplan, through June (see Chelsea)

To introduce her lyrically cryptic third solo show at Casey Kaplan. Trisha Donnelly wrote a brief Gertrude Steinesque text. It begins, “I incline toward the minds of others/and all it is/all it is—is the overt panic/the mind mass...” The verse readies us for what follows: a relentless, mischievous upending of perception in which images and objects don’t correlate visually, scents are incongruous. and sounds are subliminal. Two pieces just inside the entrance set the tone. Be-boa. a nearly inaudible sound work (easily mistaken for the buzz of fluorescent lights) hovers around HW, two floor- to-ceiling, cotton-covered steel armatures, which disrupt the natural flow of traffic into the gallery. The objects are embroidered with esoteric, audio-related symbol the meanings of which are unclear. In the main gallery, the aroma of fresh pine emanates from branch piled in a corner. A nearby series of photographs titled “Satin Operator” depicts the distorted head and torso of what appears to be an old-time Hollywood starlet. A second group of photographs combines prismatic abstractions with images of a trumpet bell and the handwritten word PERALTA. The latter might refer to skateboarder Stacy Peralta, but given Donnelly’s tonal inclinations (and obscurantism) she might just like the way the word sounds. At irregular intervals, another audio installation fills the space with a cathedral-like bell. As it tolls for a minute at a time and a clamor fills the air the show resonates along with it. Like Donnelly’s poem, her polymorphous works offer an experience that is lucid with no need for logic.-Amoreen Annetta

TIMEOUTNEWYORK 70 New Gallery for Modern and Contemporary Photography to be Inaugurated at Metropolitan Museum in September

* Inaugural Installation: Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan * Opening: September 25, 2007 * Press Preview: Monday, September 24, 10:00 a.m.–noon

The Metropolitan Museum will inaugurate the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography on Septem- ber 25, 2007, establishing for the first time a gallery dedicated exclusively to photography created since 1960. With high ceilings, clean detailing, and approximately 2,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Menschel Hall is designed specifi- cally to accommodate the large-scale photographs that are an increasingly important part of contemporary art and the Museum’s permanent collection. Photographers represented in the collection include such modern masters as Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Doug Aitken, and Sigmar Polke.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan, commented: “The establishment of this new gallery for modern pho- tography is but the latest example of Museum Trustee Joyce Menschel’s dedication to the Metropolitan and of the great generosity with which she and Robert Menschel have enriched the collections and programs of the Department of Pho- tographs and the Museum as a whole over more than two decades. It is fair to say that without Joyce’s leadership as a Trustee and as Chair of the department’s Visiting Committee, photography at the Metropolitan would not play the promi- nent role that it does.”

“The opening of the Menschel Hall is a long-anticipated turning point in our history and should be a revelation for visitors to the Museum: that we have been seriously and thoughtfully collecting contemporary photographs—the kinds of pictures not usually associated with the Met—for many years, especially in the last decade,” remarked Malcolm Daniel, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs. “This most recent chapter in the history of photography can now take its place in the broad pantheon of art displayed at the Metropolitan.”

The inaugural installation, entitled Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan, draws from the Museum’s permanent collection to trace the varied paths of photography since 1960: its role in conceptual art, earth art, and perfor- mance art, as seen in works by Dennis Oppenheim, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Douglas Huebler; the “Dusseldorf School,” featuring works by Bernd and Hilla Becher and their students Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky; the “Pictures Generation,” including Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons; and other important contem- porary artists who use photography, such as Adam Fuss, Rodney Graham, and Charles Ray. Depth of Field will be on view in the Menschel Hall from September 25, 2007 through March 23, 2008. “The inaugural installation will survey some of the key photographs we have acquired over the last 20 years, as well as works that we could not exhibit until now because we did not have a proper space,” said Doug Eklund, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photographs and its specialist in contemporary photography. “Under the leadership of Maria Morris Hambourg, the department acquired stunning masterworks by artists such as Sigmar Polke, Cindy Sherman, and Thomas Struth. Beginning in the late 1990s, Maria and I drew up a ten-year plan for acquisitions of photography since 1960, and since then we have brought in key individual photographs and groups of work by Robert Smithson, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, Nan Goldin, Jeff Wall, Christopher Williams, and Sharon Lockhart, among others. During the last seven years, we have built up a following—especially among artists—with our rotating installations outside the modern art wing, but many photographs are simply too large to fit there. Now we can really show what we have been collecting,” concluded Mr. Eklund.

The opening of the Menschel Hall builds on recent exhibitions at the Met that have brought cutting-edge contemporary photography to the attention of the Museum’s broad audience. One particularly notable milestone was the Met’s 2003 pre- sentation of a major Thomas Struth retrospective. Another landmark was the recent exhibition Closed Circuit: Video and New Media at the Metropolitan, which showcased eight moving-image works acquired by the Department of Photographs over the past five years.

Exhibitions in the Menschel Hall will change every six months, and future installations will include thematic selections on topics such as landscape and the built environment, the body, and photography about photography, as well as artists’ projects, and video and new media.

The Menschel Hall brings continuity to the Department of Photographs’ several galleries and its wide range of exhibitions. The new exhibition space is located adjacent to the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery, which highlights the earlier history of photography through works from the permanent collection; directly across from the Galleries for Drawings, Prints, and Photographs, where special exhibitions are often presented; and in close proximity to The Howard Gilman Gallery, the site of smaller thematic exhibitions. The wide spectrum of photographs from the collection that will be seen in the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall and the Museum’s other galleries for photography will bring to life the entire history of the medium, from its earliest beginnings to the present day.

Doug Eklund will lead public gallery talks of the inaugural installation in the Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography at 11 a.m. on October 4, November 2, November 9, November 28, December 5, and December 11. Addi- tional public programs related to contemporary photography are planned for early 2008, and the exhibition will be featured on the Museum’s Web site at

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July 18, 2007 TRISHA DONNELLY 6 OCTOBER TO 16 DECEMBER 2007 Press View: Friday 5 October, 1pm to 3pm

‘Donnelly’s works exist at the threshold of possible experience or understanding and require, if not optimism, at least suspension of disbelief.’ Art Review

Modern Art Oxford presents a new exhibition of San Francisco-based artist Trisha Donnelly. Born in 1974, Donnelly is one of a new genera- tion of artists to have emerged in recent years. The exhibition will be the first major public presentation of her work in the UK.

Donnelly works across just about every possible medium, using drawing, the photographic image and sound, to create installations and events that propel us into playful and unsettling worlds. For her exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, Donnelly plans to create an architectural equivalent of the building’s sounds. Donnelly will transform the three interconnecting upper gallery spaces into an enclosed ‘audio form’ within which she produces traces of the galleries’ multiple frequencies.

Suzanne Cotter, curator of the exhibition, comments: ‘Donnelly has an extraordinary capacity to disrupt our normal way of seeing and thinking about the world, be it through the uncanny solidity she gives to her drawings and sphinx-like forms, or the boisterous energy of her proposals and interventions. Donnelly captivates us in her suggestion that everything doesn’t always have to be the way we think it is.’

Donnelly recently participated in this year’s acclaimed Manchester International Festival, contributing a new performance piece to II Tempo del Postino at the Opera House, Manchester in which a group of the world’s leading contemporary artists attempted to defy accepted notions of the exhibition.

Born in San Francisco, California in 1974, Donnelly graduated from Yale University School of Art in 2000. Since then she has exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Donnelly’s work is also represented in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Tate Modern, London.

Group exhibitions include: Uncertain States of America at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway; The Serpentine Gallery, London; Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland and The Heming Art Museum, Heming, Denmark (2005-7); The Secret Theory of Drawing: Dislocation and Indirection in Contemporary Drawing, The Drawing Room, London (2006); Day for Night, The 2006 Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006) and Of Mice + Men: 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2006). Donnelly is one of sixteen international artists included in the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Modern, The World as a Stage, which explores the historical relationship between visual art and theatre.

The artist has presented solo exhibitions at Art Pace, San Antonio (2005), Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (2005) and The Wrong Gallery, New York (2004). Forthcoming solo exhibitions are planned for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and The Renaissance Society, Chi- cago both in 2008.

The exhibition at Modern Art Oxford is accompanied by a series of events, including an evening listening to some of Trisha Donnelly’s favourite music by Fats Waller and others, and a series of screenings of Dirk Bogarde and John Ford films.

To coincide with the exhibition, Modern Art Oxford, in association with The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, is publishing a limited edition artist’s book containing texts written by Trisha Donnelly and designed by M/M (Paris).

The exhibition is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Senior Curator at Modern Art Oxford. A sister exhibition of Donnelly’s work is planned for The Doug- las Hyde Gallery, in July 2008.

Trisha Donnelly will be in conversation with Suzanne Cotter on Thursday 15 November at Modern Art Oxford. For details visit www.modernartox-

ENDS For further information please contact Sara Dewsbery, Press and Marketing Officer on 08165 813813, Email [emailprotected] S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 7

Trisha Donnelly Modern art oxford October 6-December 16 Curated by Suzanne Cotter

Trisha Donnelly tends to deal in displace- ment, honing in on barely communicable transcendent or liminal experiences. The San Francisco-based artist’s work includes video of herself performing a rain dance and imitating a rock star’s onstage euphoria; blunt, documentary style photographs of the dancer Frances Flannery enacting a baffling ritual; allusive yet maddeningly obscure semi-abstract drawings; and such interventions as sounding two brief cascades of organ music at the start and finish of gallery hours, thereby opening up a caesura. Accordingly, churls might call Donnelly’s art a tease. What it feels like, though—as her first major UK show, consisting entirely of one large, interlinked installa- tion, will likely evince--is the output of someone who, not content with bookish Trisha Donnelly, charter about the economy of desire, Satin Operator (12), 2007 instead strategizes to register its effects color photograph, on our shortchanged selves. 62 1/2 x 44” -Martin Herbert


PHILADELPHIA, PA The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is pleased to present the first survey exhibition of Trisha Donnelly’s work, and her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., on view January 18 - August 3, 2008. Using sculpture, drawing, photographs, text, sound, video, and painting, Donnelly will compose a new installation in the second floor gallery with works made between 1998 and 2007. Over the course of the installation works will shift and change. Donnelly’s ineffable body of work resists simple characterization. A lexicon of imagery and action relies on the power of suggestion: what is the most economical gesture that can evoke thoughts of, for example, Napoleonic Wars? How can sound create form? Can a word plant the artist in our conscious? These gestures are catalysts, and this is the gist of Donnelly’s work. Uniting her work in various media are Trisha Donnelly, Untitled II (Peralta) 2007, C-print, 62 1/2 x 44 inches, edition gestures of altered time, shifters, dimensional explorations, evocation, perception, of 5. Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, and belief structures. New York, and Air de Paris, Paris Time is crucial to her work: a drawing may ask us to slow down, a sound piece may stretch a phrase interminably, a video presents an action in slow motion, a photograph freezes a turn of the torso. The pause allows for shifts in time, both in the present, and in its call to historical shifters-moments in history when “history was written.” Time collapses. The organization of this exhibition asks the artist herself to CONTACT pause and look back at several years of work. JILL KATZ Donnelly is a San Francisco-based artist (b. 1974, and lives San Francisco). MANAGER OF MARKETING & Her work is well known in the contemporary art world, but is still seldom seen outside COMMUNICATIONS highly defined contexts. As most of her major exhibitions have occurred in Europe, 215-573-9975 this exhibition allows viewers who have not experienced firsthand much of her work to [emailprotected] see it for the first time. And seeing this work firsthand is crucial to the questions Donnelly’s work pursues. The work requires your presence. INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART Since completing her MFA at Yale in 2000, Donnelly has had solo projects at UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA Modern Art Oxford (2007). Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2006), Kunsthalle Zurich 118 SOUTH 36TH STREET (2005). Kolnischer Kunstverein (2005), and ArtPace, San Antonio (2005). She has been PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104-3289 included in numerous group exhibitions: “Uncertain States of America,” Astrup WWW.lCAPHILA.ORG Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (traveled) (2005); “Day for Night,” 2006 Whitney Biennial, New York; “Of Mice + Men: 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art,” Berlin (2006); and 54th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004). She teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute and is a visiting critic at Yale. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum, Walker Art Center, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, among others. ARTFORUM 192 Checklist and images available upon request. This exhibition is organized by Associate Curator Jenelle Porter and is accompanied by a catalog publication documenting the installation and will be available after the GENERAL INFORMATION exhibition opens. ICA is located at: We gratefully acknowledge generous support of the American Center Foundation, the 118 South 36th Street at the Harpo Foundation and ICA’s Leadership Circle: Robert Kirkpatrick & John Wind, University of Pennsylvania Meredith & Bryan Verona, Elizabeth A. Asplundh, Floss Barber, Inc., Jill & Sheldon

ICA is open to the public, except during Bonovitz, Ellen & Stephen Burbank, Cecile & Christopher J. D’Amelio, Mary & Anthony installation, from 12pm to 8pm on B. Creamer, III, Barbara & David Farley, Glenn R. Fuhrman, Fury Design, Inc., Suzanne Wednesday through Friday and from 11 am & Jeffrey Koopman, Gabriele W. Lee, Margery P. Lee, Paul Pincus, Marguerite to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Rodgers, Ltd., Leah Popowich & Andrew Hohns, Alec Rubin & Phillip Chambers, Cindy L. Shaffran & Gary Schwartz, Laura Steinberg Tisch Foundation, Inc. and Dina & Jerry Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students Wind. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, over 12, artists, and senior citizens; and free to ICA members, children 12 and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation, Inc., under, PENN card holders, and on Sundays the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of from 11am to 1pm. ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. lnformation complete as of 12/21/07.) ALL PROGRAMS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. PLEASE VISIT THE ICA WEBSITE, WWW.ICAPHILA.ORG, For more information, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROGRAMS IN CONJUNCTION WITH TRISHA DONNELLY. call 215-898-7108/5911, or visit

INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART Founded in 1963, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is a leader in the presentation and documentation of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, commissions, educational programs, and publications, ICA invites the public to share in the experience, interpretation and understanding of the work of established and emerging artists. E36

September 28, 2007

Since its 2003 survey of Thomas the Thomases, Ruff and Struth). Struth, the Metropolitan Museum of Mr. Struth’s “San Zaccaria, Venice” Art has been getting serious about (1995), an image of tourists awed by a photography. In 2005 it presented Bellini altarpiece, shows the museum a Diane Arbus retrospective and, and the photographer engaged in po- in a stunning move, acquired more lite mutual appreciation. In contrast, than 8,500 works by absorbing the it is somewhat shocking to see the Gilman Paper Company Collection. Met contextualizing (as few museums Last spring it offered a glimpse of can) photographs from 9/11, compar- video and new-media works from its ing Mr. Ruff’s enlarged JPEG of the holdings. (Who smoking World Trade Center towers knew the Met to Turner’s 1834 painting “The Burn- ART even had video, ing of the Houses of Parliament.” let alone a David Comparisons to painting abound in Hammons?) Now the wall text, as if to justify photog- REVIEW the museum has raphy’s presence in a museum full of KAREN designated a Rembrandts. Vermeer and Caspar gallery exclusively David Friedrich are used to bolster ROSENBERG for the exhibition Sharon Lockhart’s nighttime shot of of photographs a man staring out from a disorient- made after 1960. ingly reflective window. The Lockhart The new space is certainly an is flanked by one of Rineke Dijkstra’s improvement on the rotating photog- portraits of gangly teens and a Cindy raphy displays located in a crowded, Sherman from 1981, in which a jeans- noisy hallway outside the modern-art clad Ms. Sherman lies on a blanket in wing. There, tucked between a gift an apparent state of post-traumatic shop and a bathroom, visitors could shock. These works give off a seduc- get up close (often too close for the tively standoffish vibe, as if the Met curators’ comfort) to the large-scale were making fun of its own awkward works the museum had been acquir- phase. ing since the department of photogra- Despite its limitations, “Depth phy was founded in 1992. of Field” is not a bad debut. The Those pictures will finally have museum is exceptionally positioned some room to breathe in the new to tell the story of early photography, Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for especially since the arrival of the Modern Photography, a high-ceil- 19th-century-heavy Gilman Collec- inged, gray-carpeted sanctuary on the tion. The recent past is not a priority, second floor, across from the special but for that we have MoMA, the New exhibition galleries for drawings, “Now!” by Adam Fuss is part of the exhibition “Depth of Field” Museum and, increasingly, historical prints and photographs. exhibitions at commercial galler- The inaugural installation, “Depth ies. We can also expect more from of Field: Modern Photography at the Depth of Field practice wasn’t, or isn’t, exclusive to the Menschel Hall’s future installa- Metropolitan,” a sampler rather than Metropolitain Museum of Art photography. One wall holds a mixed- tions, which will explore themes like a thematic slice, makes the Met’s media representation of a Dennis Op- “photography about photography.” priorities clear. The photography penheim earthwork, a photo collage (The Richard Prince cowboy that curators at MoMA need not worry: undermine the medium’s historical, by Gordon Matta-Clark (depicting closes “Depth of Field” is just the “Depth of Field” presents a distorted documentary function. the New Jersey frame house he split beginning.) history of photography, dominated They are bright spots in an instal- in half) and a shot of the sculptor The museum has chosen the by white, mostly male Europeans and lation that formalizes even the most Charles Ray bound to a tree branch Rodney Graham as the show’s heavily weighted with references to free-spirited artists. Felix Gonzalez- during his famous 1973 performance. promotional image, but Mr. Gursky’s history and landscape painting. Torres’s series of photogravures Across the room is Sigmar Polke’s “Schipol” (1994), taken inside the Things are off to a promising start depicting footprints in the sand are semi-abstract image of men drinking, Amsterdam airport, might be more to with Adam Fuss’s “Now!” (1988), a imprisoned in a vitrine. Wolfgang made from a negative exposed in a the point. The Gursky, as the wall text large and dynamic photogram made Tillmans, known for his personalized São Paulo bar and selectively devel- tells us, is “a landscape layered with by splashing photographic paper with installations of multiple photographs, oped. This photograph-as-hangover nostalgia, structured by modernism water just as the flashbulb popped. is (mis)represented by a single, reveals the darker, boozier side of and sealed behind glass.” Which also It faces off with Rodney Graham’s large-scale still life. Trisha Donnelly’s an artist better known for his Pop- describes the Met’s restricted view of “Welsh Oaks #1” (1998), a topsy- “Satin Operator,” an abstract image inflected painting. contemporary photography, beautiful turvy tree (the roots extend upward, made by rolling a photograph on a The show’s German hegemony though it is. the branches downward) that sug- flatbed scanner during the exposure begins with the Polke and continues “Depth of Field: Modern Photog- gests the upside-down projection of a process, is the lone exception, pinned into the second gallery, through raphy at the Metropolitan” continues camera obscura. These two arresting to the wall like an exotic butterfly. the Bechers and their prodigious through March 23 at the Metropoli- images put the process of photogra- As the presence of the Donnelly offspring Struthsky. (The name is tan Museum of Art; (212) 535-7710, phy front and center, even as they suggests, a surprising amount of shorthand for Andreas Gursky and space is devoted to artists whose Trisha Donnelly Guide for visitors

Let me explain. Half-way down the space on your This work is an evening. One evening. right, I layout. The following is an account of this The elevator, our piston, opens to work. For I am as unused to it as you. “D>U>”, a looker who returns your This space offered itself to these ..... view. not for the purpose of an exhib. but A levitation over the door is a form of instead a waited view. the Oxford branch.

1. (The Ballroom) 2. (the side split arc) A loosened timing of this room The wheelchair ramp of the middle creates its repeat. Blame size for its space is slightly blocked by half of distance. I rate it as a ballroom. The a planet’s image- in wood- earth’s music does go on and on until it is no softest stone- I gave in to hours of longer true. purpose. The place and land was a Look left on first flat ground and you dream as it appeared first grey then will see a light but accurate rendering red with multiple moons (closest to of a type of battery*- the nature of an Arizona plus China). Partner to be this place and the evening. And then found in the next space. These form of course you are drawn right by a a go degree conduit. Call this a size larger than me or any. It is a type practical solving: a decoration in of necessity. Not a sculpture and not spirit of the valve that opens and a prop. But more of an appearance. closes between the two rooms. Final and lurk. Barely moveable but The photographic image is one of an for its single wheel. But how it stays eight-part vert.** document with the as a line in sight. I could not ask name “Way To”; see her face in more. It is a partial form fulfillment progress lifts its eyes to the heavens. of the drawn view. The painting on the left-hand wall For the final cause take the elevator. places in this room an electric post- It holds the 2nd rotation. And knows photographic; the faltering line is a the motion of the airborne partial past of the image (look back to destruction. know your brother). A vibrational arc rotates and links our two larger rooms. It moves along. *1 drew something to this and describing it This room is the waking between the seems necessary as I think of it as the standard.The two others. A moment of disdain or sense of the 3 plates. It is a partial form, a partial doubt and a pause that revives just reactor, power form for a tiny tube that looks like a barely. candle is at the below. Its hollowness assumed despite what looks like a wick. A puncture tool,like a punch 3. (L.D.) dagger but hollow. Above rotate three partial forms. The last department*** is open just With a fleshed lip around each looking like a cell, by the second face of the planet's diaphanous within the circular lip of the objects or image. forms or whatever they are. The central axis of the space is They are an energy flesh to simply say, a unit living balanced by two pressures on from and for its rotating action. They revolve all three opposing walls. A lucky and golden of these distanced from each other with magnetic balance of blue celestial time. And it space and sensitivity but much warmer towards each goes on. other in knowing of each other's precarious balance as There are seven images in the room. they revolve away from but still above the tool their And one light painting for Rae. bottom half becomes unfinished in their rotation. Note the sound, appropriate volume. The motion erases the portion but only momentarily. And it goes on. Like a good mist. Two seedlings of these forms begin to learn on either You will lose this fall upon leaving but side of the 3. At the hearing distance from these seed- revive always the sense of this place. lings begins a nearly formed circuit, appearing only from the continued rotation...breath on glass. Fog on I said nothing for the roses but who mirror. Only form present with the life of the parts. needs to. There are as always not and Above these three in total is a full and unmoving disc. never enough. Don't you be troubled A listener. by boredom. Like roses it dies.

And then of course the exit is in **vertical, in relation to screen motion reverse. ***lingerie department


Friday, June 1, 2007 trisha donnely Trisha Donnelly is not interested in your “getting” her work. The gallery release Casey Kaplan she has written omits the customary 525 West 21st Street, introductions and explanations but Chelsea features an abstruse poem (well, it re- Through June 14 sembles a poem) composed by the artist: I incline towards the minds of others and all it is all it is - is the vert panic the mind mass of cantled freaks tho constant triple knock of 3 parallel pains I am the all star epileptic truth – x4 x4 x4 africa take me in your form. The works here include a series of C- prints made by placing a shipping tube wrapped with a photograph of an un- identified woman on a scanner; a scan of a trumpet’s bell partly obscured by a slip of paper that reads “Peralta” (a reference both to the skateboarder Stacy Peralta and to a town in Spain); steel-shaped armatures covered with peach-colored fabric; a small photograph of the interior of a B-17 bomber; drawings showing fragments of movement or objects; and a sound piece with booming church bells whose frequency increases over the course of the show. This hodgepodge of sound, text, image and performance (on opening night Ms. Donnelly moved two sculptures, then banished the audience from the gallery, then let everyone return) is in keeping with her genre - and interpretation- defying oeuvre. But while her work admirably stands apart from easily consumable art, packaging it for a gallery show creates problems. Her works are less interesting as objects than as a body of ideas; Ms. Donnelly withholds so much from her viewers that her work runs the risk of being more interesting explained than experienced. If you favor philosophi- cal abstraction over something more concrete - the “all it is - is” embedded in her text - then it is easier to accept her methods. MARTHA SCHWENDENER Friday, June 1, 2007 CRITICS’ PICKS

New York

Trisha Donnelly Casey Kaplan 525 West 21st Street May 11-June 14

Close your eyes for a moment while visiting Trisha Donnelly’s third solo exhibition at this gallery. A pile of pine branches in the first room and the sound of bells ringing intermittently in the second might provide just enough stimulus to trigger a memory-perhaps of the holiday season, a vacation, or something not typically associated with art. Much of Donnelly’s work operates metaphorically, as if to forge suggestive links between her practice and larger, sometimes otherworldly ideas. Subtle connections between fiction and fact abound in this show, like tiny seeds planted in the back of our minds that bloom later on. Consider, for example, R. Creeley + Levitating Wave (all works 2007), a delicate drawing on fabric that references the American poet and an imaginary oceanic event. Other works connect sound and space with a dramatic touch: HW, an embroidered cotton and steel sculpture depicting sound waves and pressure, is draped like a theater curtain at the entrance of the gallery. A series of sculptures on wheels, all entitled Braker, are embroidered with a quasi-phallic shape and placed randomly throughout the gallery, helping to split up, shift, and symbolically bookend the other artworks on view. If Donnelly’s earlier work examined artists’ ability to create, sustain, and shape myths (notably channeling Napoleon’s surrender during a 2002 performance), this exhibition forsakes narrative momentum for a precarious standoff between chaos and calculation. This is, as is always the case with her work, a risky proposition, but Donnelly pulls it off with free-floating associations and magical thinking.

-Lauren O’Neill-Butler Schwa Trisha Donnelly


At the close of her Kunsthalle Zurich exhibition, Trisha Donnelly gave a performative lecture, although she didn’t use its original title Close your eyes for a moment while visiting Trisha Donnelly’s third solo exhibition at this gallery. A pile of THE 11th PRISMATIC (2005) and instead billed it as a four-part pine branches in the first room and the sound of bells ringing intermittently in the second might provide just description of the phenomenon of the 11th prismatic refraction of a photograph into an object. With the aid of slide projections and enough stimulus to trigger a memory-perhaps of the holiday season, a vacation, or something not audio input, she added yet more levels to the exhibition space and typically associated with art. Much of Donnelly’s work operates metaphorically, as if to forge suggestive her works, which already presented a panoply of different shades links between her practice and larger, sometimes otherworldly ideas. Subtle connections between fiction of reality, fiction, space, and time. For her opening gambit the art- and fact abound in this show, like tiny seeds planted in the back of our minds that bloom later on. ist dislocated the real space of the lecture and our own reality by Consider, for example, R. Creeley + Levitating Wave (all works 2007), a delicate drawing on fabric that declaring that her lecture was in fact a radio broadcast, after hav- references the American poet and an imaginary oceanic event. Other works connect sound and space with ing first--by means of a lightning-fast reality loop--transformed the female speaker into a fictive male figure (Paul), who could change a dramatic touch: , an embroidered cotton and steel sculpture depicting sound waves and pressure, is HW sex again in an instant and repeated the strands of her argument as draped like a theater curtain at the entrance of the gallery. A series of sculptures on wheels, all entitled a voice from the other side, deeper and turned up, her level intensi- Braker, are embroidered with a quasi-phallic shape and placed randomly throughout the gallery, helping to fied. This voice reported on the shock to the sense of sight, should split up, shift, and symbolically bookend the other artworks on view. If Donnelly’s earlier work examined the eyes linger too long on a photograph with its ensuing splinter- artists’ ability to create, sustain, and shape myths (notably channeling Napoleon’s surrender during a 2002 ing of the image in time and form. performance), this exhibition forsakes narrative momentum for a precarious standoff between chaos and calculation. This is, as is always the case with her work, a risky proposition, but Donnelly pulls it off with free-floating associations and magical thinking.

-Lauren O’Neill-Butler

BEATRIX RUF is the director of the Kunsthalle Zurich. The photograph thus, so we are told, becomes an object with nu- transform one’s original, conventional perception of what is hap- merous dimensions; its one-dimensionality begins to stutter, mul- pening. Photographs by J.P.D. (a reference to a drawing in the exhi- tiplying the presence of its realities, becoming a phantom. “This bition that shows a wooden handle with her father’s initials incised was not a mystical experience. Do not make the mistake of that into it)--photographs that can be nothing and everything. Direct interpretation. Instead understand it as a metronomed experience. communication and direct realization: someone looked into the A mathematical realization. Mechanical not spiritual.” 1) camera and the image looked back. Then come the audio pieces, With the compelling force one has come to expect of Trisha in which the sounds rebound off each other, due to interference, Donnelly’s demonstrations and the authority of the uninterrupted and start to wish for more room, until their desire for space creates monologue, she proceeded to report on four types of echoes--a such a distance that they can be endlessly variegate, individual and short-circuit, interference, a fracture, and a tear in the listener’s a single sound all in one: “One point, all places.” perception--which With the simultaneity of sense perception typical of her work, Trisha Donnelly pilots this notion towards the image of a mirror- -that could, however, also be an image from a radio-broadcast situ- ation that we find ourselves in at present. She describes the daily shock of the rebound and the distancing that we experience.

However, in both the mirror and the radio our perception pting the spirit. She confronts the public with her experience range is too confined; we are caught in a to and fro with no of possibilities, and tests and extends the impact of art by the hope of escape. Not so in the photographs of Greta Garbo, above-mentioned, but also, most importantly, by introducing a whose figure causes the mirror to bounce back off the camera, possible “void.” treating it, from the outset, with distance: “Greta Garbo-what- When Trisha Donnelly entitles a photograph of a not who-was feedback. What you see in the photos is the rico- sphinx THE HAND THAT HOLDS THE DESERT DOWN chet. The bounce, the push off, the long arm. Photographi- (2002), she changes not only our perception of this all-too fa- cally Garbo = original prey. Garbo woke to a million Garbos.” miliar figure, but also the meaning of pictures in general and When one Garbo photograph meets another, the first Garbo the relationship of language and image. (If it really were the multiplies to become infinitely many Garbos; when her photo- case that the desert sands are only held in place by the massive graphs come together in a book, Garbo becomes a stuttering limbs of the sphinxes, what would happen if the latter were reality, a multiplication of realities, spaces, and times. Pictures to stand up and make off ? Would the desert disappear with look at pictures, pictures multiply and the pictures burst, be- them?) coming multi-dimensional objects: Garbo “what-not who” In the audio work THE SHIELD (2004), Trisha Donnelly (in the exhibition Donnelly showed a drawing with the name turns sounds into a physical presence by taking a carefully cal- [Joan] Fontaine, to whom she attributed a similar response to culated sequence of tones from the deepest and most sonorous the camera). to the highest, most metallic. And by means of precise audio Trisha Donnelly, whose exhibitions suggest a fundamentally techniques, she creates a non-material wall to divide a room. iconoclastic approach, and who–even in the sparsest showing Hence one sense-perception turns into another, as Donnelly of her pictures-will punctuate their reception with unexpected plays with the limits of one’s perception, with realities, with bursts of sound (in the same way that film scores influence language, experience, and order. Synesthesia--the superimpo- one’s perception of the images on screen), seems to be par- sition or simultaneous awareness of sense-impressions that are ticularly interested in pictures, or rather in the reconfiguration other- of our perception of pictures. She has immense faith in the “pictures” that she creates through drawing, video, photog- raphy, sound, text, and “demonstrations,” for her use of dif- ferent media always plumbs the depths of that realm where, through force of will, fantasy, and imagination, “things” actu- ally come to exist and have meaning. Like many of her famous colleagues--Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Boris Vian, Jena Baudrillard, Joan Miro, and the Marx Broth- ers, to name but a few--Trisha Donnelly also likes to turn her mind to things that other people ignore: parallel realities and pata-logical definitions of reality-tem-

95 wise distinct from each other--has an important function in esthesia. The composer planned this symphony as a seven-day Donnelly’s work (seeing colors with letters or numbers, perceiv- spectacle of sensory sensations, involving music, words, dance, ing physical forms when listening to music, and much more). light, fire, and smell. After the reading the artist extinguished This is not so much an indication of the excessively heightened the light and played “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams, telling perceptive faculties of the artist (or of artists in general), as a her audience that she had found the sound of a solar eclipse. permeability that transforms the act of relating things to each After the lecture she announced that she would take up the next other into things themselves. morning of the entire audience, thereby carving out a place for Trisha Donnelly’s live works only exist as oral reports by herself in the consciousness of every single participant in the those who were there to witness them, which is to say, as nu- performance, laying claim to their time in the same way that merous different individual versions. For the opening of one she turned it into a of her first solo shows in 2002 at the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, the artist rode into the gallery on horseback, as Na- poleon’s courier, and announced that the Emperor had capitu- lated (“If it need be termed surrender, then let it be so, for he has surrendered in word, not deed.”), and rode off again stating “and with this I am electric, I am electric.” In another of her demonstrations she asked the public to read out loud from the libretto of Alexander Scriabin’s (1871-1915) unfinished sym- phony Mysterium-like Donnelly, Scriabin was interested in syn-

TRISHA DONNELLY,’ the title of this artwork is a sound, recorded on CD, and can be played for the viewer on request, 2002, pencil and colored pencil on paper, 30 x 22” / Der Titel dieser Arbeit ist ein Klang, ‘aufgenommen auf einer CD und erklingt auf Wunsch des Betrachters, Bleistift und Farbstifte auf Papier, 76,2 x 55,9 em.

96 work of art: through rumors and myths, and above all, in the voids space. between things and reality, between presence and absence. The lecture by Donnelly which I described at the outset posited Many of Donnelly photo and audio works, and her drawings the concept of “stuttering” and the opening of realities through a too, include events that make their presence felt but never come to fracture in the integrity and continuity of space and time, image anything, that one is certainly aware of but that are nevertheless and sound, body and experience, reality and fiction, wholeness and not there. The full reality of the work in question is therefore left fragmentation, proximity and distance. One might therefore say open, or is the product of our own imaginations, our memories, that language and linguistics provide an apt descriptor for Don- our assumptions: her “pictures” are incomplete, fragments, ruins; nelly’s art praxis: in linguistics and phonology, the term schwa is they operate with densities, reflexes, reversals, and turns. used to designate the central, unstressed vowel sound that is rep- As rumors build with regard above all to Donnelly’s live work, resented phonetically with [ ]. The Hebrew word schwa means she has increasingly begun to delegate her “Actions” to other pro- nothingness, void. It can also indicate the complete absence of a tagonists: texts that the curators of her exhibitions record in par- vowel. In stuttering, which interrupts the flow of normal speech, allel on tape--be these accessible to the public or not, gallerists, the repeated initial sounds are connected with the following schwa. collectors, and curators have to carry out the daily tasks needed It seems that Trisha Donnelly works with precisely this “central” to realize a work. As in THE REDWOOD AND THE RAVEN void, this hiatus in the flow of language, images, and forms: Trisha (2004), a series of thirty-one photographs documenting a sequence Donnelly’s work is schwa. of movements executed by the dancer Frances Flannery, only one (Translation: Fiona Elliott) photograph from the series is ever shown at a time, and this pho- 1) All quotes from the lecture by Trisha Donnelly are taken from the artist’s own tograph has to be changed daily for the duration of the work’s manuscript. presentation. The sequence of images and the interruptions that occur during the changeover are more important than any single, fixed image. At the opening of her exhibition at the Kolnischer Kunstverein in 2005, Donnelly’s “performance” was pure rumor. The story was that a horse was waiting in the wings and that Donnelly would very soon surprise the public with a new demonstration. Donnelly herself fed the flames by excusing herself from the vernissage din- ner a couple of times; soon the word spread that a horse had been seen, that the performance had already taken place, and so on--but the fact of the matter was that in the meantime the “performance” had indeed already been realized, in the proliferation of whispered snippets, in the sheer sense of expectation. The game Donnelly plays with the presence and absence of things, her narratives, and her processes all persist in the work as a principle of strategic dissociation, be they in the “history paint- ings” and “portraits” of heterogeneous historical figures and lo- cations (Napoleon, Tacitus, Montgomery Clift, P.P. Arnold, Joan Fontaine, Greta Garbo, Afrikka Bambaataa, H.D., Rome, Egypt, and many more) or in her “abstract” drawings and photographs. Her works are always realized within the context of a system of varied references. She thus activates her works at their voids--ask- ing questions as to the nature of art, in which reality we can trust, and how we are to construe belief and knowledge in the interstices of matter and spirit, abstraction and experience. It is with striking frequency that Trisha Donnelly uses acronyms in her works, either in titles that consist of abbreviations or in the omission and excision of information in her drawn text pieces. Take THE PASSENGER (2004), for instance, a drawing where the word and the idea are only present in the consonants “Th. PSNGR.” Enigmatic information? A means of communication shaped by text-messaging and the culture of abbreviation in our mobile world? A secret language? One of her most recent draw- ings, entitled 22 F.T.S.O. [FOR THE SAKE OF] (2006), takes the form of a two-line drawing of levitating liquid, “a fracture” that refers to comic culture and is designed to bring movement into the

99 Over and Out bruce hainley

In Trisha Donnelly’s UNTITLED (HC), 2006, a recent sculpture, there is at first the sound of chimes; even if at some point disturbed only by the wind or by creature breath, the music or noise must now be heard as purposeful. An intruder alert? An in- vocation? Garbled voices, as if from a far-off shortwave radio breaking up, follow the chiming. A chant in response and contradistinction. I cannot understand the entire vocal sequence: it seems to begin with someone saying, “help wanted,” and end with the someone or something disclaiming, “what the hell?” But the voice, if it is a voice, in-between the articulation, reduces to murmur, not quite verbal or just beyond what language can communicate. I tried to write about it in another manner, with other methods, by other means, and failed, and I wonder if that isn’t more than a little of its purpose. What do we expect anymore from art? And, more to my task, what is expected in terms of writing “about” art? Should it be explanation or critique? Can it deter exegesis to drift into the abstract, making meaning skid on the oblique? Is “about” a contract? Between whom? Should critical writing, so called, avail itself of private knowledge? Say, if I revealed what I was told the letters “HC” stood for, especially if it was Donnelly who told me, would that “solve” the problem of its imponderables? In an age of “reality media,” an owl-like vigilance should haunt biographical, not to mention autobio- graphical, fallacy. Perhaps artists make something only to confront what cannot be understood. If writing commandeers the second person, would you recognize it as singular or plural, would you think it was speaking about you or me, or about some- one who is not simply either? Too much art, in the name–quicksand–of “philosophy” and “art history,” fails to reveal the operation of the system and thus attempts to pre- empt the risk of failure, failure allowing all, to come to terms with our own failings, finitudes. The aim is not to communicate change but to create change, and (but?) this requires abandoning, abandonment; being abandoned. The current system is not holding; theoretical and philosophi-

BRUCE HAINLEY is the author of Foul Mouth (2nd Cannons Publications, 2006) and, with John Waters, Art-A Sex Book (Thames & Hudson, 2003).

76 cal foreclosure encourages the impropriety of poetic squatting. On her own pirate radio sta- tion, Avital Ronell has broadcast the following, which seems attuned to Donnelly’s poetics, her operations and maneuvers, and how to deal with what they produce:

The poet, irremediably split between exaltation and vulgarity, between the autonomy that produces the concept within intuition and the foolish earthly being, functions as a contaminant for philosophy-a being who, at least since Plato, has been trying to read and master an eviction notice served by philosophy. The poet as genius continues to threaten and fascinate, menacing the philosopher with the beyond of knowl- edge. Philosophy cringes. Excluding and appropriating to itself the poeticity by which it is harassed and shadowed, philosophy has provoked a crisis on its own premises as a result of which these premises will henceforth be shared by the antics of the popular poet: “Paradoxically, then, it is perhaps owing to Kant that there can be neither philosophy nor literature, only a permanent scrambling, ever searching to write itself... brouillage permanent scrambling... )

Help wanted. What the hell, I think.


Because you chime the chimes, bluely. Because you wake up with glitter in your 6JlOXa, again, and think, better than 6JlOxa. Because you make cheese, collect buttons, lisp. Because, decades of 6JlOXa 6JlOXa with such tenacity, your mouth diamondizes coal. Because even on a nightly street prowl you “tableau,” the last caryatid of the 20th century. Because, skeptical or, rather, nonchalant about the possible knowledge of anyone’s identity, frequently not even able to spy what the hook-up looks like (pitch-black back rooms), you keep mostly to first names or key attributes (“Silver Porsche”; “Cucumber”; “Garlic Breath”), personhood a ruse, what matters how certain structures fit ad hoc openings, countless-beyond abaci-the number of your conquests. Because you hear only what’s untranslatable. Because you’re a mess. Because you are only about your bodies. Because there’s nothing about that that’s not delicious. Because you accept the dead’s collect calls; they’re your family plan. Because 6JlOXa glazes your 6JlOXa, cruller-like. Because conjunctions join you to you by coming between. Because, 6JlOXa, you don’t look like yourself. Because ewes don’t look like you. Because the only job you ever have is getting laid, sole occupation the mind wants. Because something ended-a culture, a way of being-around the time AIDS was named AIDS, and you’re sure it must be, will be, renewed, but with what not to mention by whom? Because you have an ass but hide its use not knowing what it’s good for. Because, with satin halter tops, taxing codpieces, thongs, leg warmers, spandex Lycra, vests, chaps, improvised singlets, tassels, bikini briefs, boots, studded armbands, harnesses, rubber 6JlOXa, bandanas, gloves

76 (fingerless and 6nox C1), mesh jockstraps, page boys, kneepads, lace-up pouches, puffy pants, jungle-print jackets, shoulder pads, fringe, culottes, chain mail, suspenders, cheap cotton, seaman’s caps, epaulettes, turquoise, western gear, t-shins, tank tops, paludal hot pants, low, riding skintight jeans, all hand-altered, you out-peter berlin Peter Berlin. Because you Nair. Because you noticed me but it is such an odd looking thing. Because you cannot get enough of you. Because, tattooed with the international symbol for biohazard, you introduce contingencies to one another. Because, 6nox C1, you slur your worlds. Because you call your lice Louises. Because fa*ggotry’s narcissism is your Cabaret, with you in the shoes of both Fosse and Minnelli. Because, unlike malls of others, you do not look to a body for explanation, knowing it ex- plains nothing, which is its charm, why you return to it, and why it returns to you. Because, in nooks and crannies, abandoned piers, at recess, in bad odors, immediately after take-off, behind dumpsters, between cigarettes, recently divorced, while talking on the phone, going eighty-miles-per-hour, after snacking, on your knees, arms akimbo, before spanking, overreading, conjunction becomes you.

77 Because the second person is identical, therefore impossible, you and not you. Because you scheherazade in no-name bars. Because, just because. Because of your hegemonic black feminist co*ck. Because lemon you, sweat you, lavender you, mint you, Jicky you, b.o. you, beer you, salty you, 6JlOXa you -all 6JlOXa, pants down around 6JlOXa ankles, 6JlOXa 6JlOXa with 6JlOXa, 6JlOXa pre- off your nipple. Because, disdaining alcohol and cigarettes, not understanding doing speed and then just cleaning your apart- ment or finishing a novel, you binge every two weeks or so-grass, of course, amphetamines, maybe some crack on top of that-and tire out your tricks. Because your crotch contains a spatio-temporal rift- i. e., why it has to be yoked, sheathed, Russian-dolled-a basket like Dr. Who’s phone booth. Because Santa Monica Boulevard, each block, block by block, secured by different types--trannies, cowboys, twinks, bears, amputees, vampires, junkies, vets, musclemen, bruisers, radical faeries, midshipmen, altar boys, speed freaks, Eurotrash, chubby chasers, daddies, eagle scouts, truckers, gerontophiliacs, twins--you cruise, unenemaed. Because you accessorize with whatever allows skin its apotheosis. Because, dear diary, you Dutch-oven me like no other. Because, bonfire forewent, you use the ex’s letters as cum rags. Because you deter exegesis. Because you believe moisturizing is the answer. Because you have a co*ck but do not know what one looks like or how to package it. Because, tart, your climax always conveys not its silence but its silences. Because, vulnerable to diseases heretofore threatening only to small birds, you test selachian, vermicular and mineral transubstantiations. Because, supplicant, you breathe, unsettling tintinnabulations which peel in an ascending scale, and, suddenly invoked, garbled voices, as if from a far-off shortwave radio breaking up, respond. Because you is a manifesto. Because your dialect recalls the Paraclete’s. Because you trim bush but leave a thick happy trail. Because you arrive like starlight from a source long gone, the thinking man’s 6JlOXa. Because you don’t know when to stop. Because f*ck you. Because you watch, watched, every single friend, each loved one, die and, abandoned, ask yourself, now who the hell is the lucky one? Because help wanted is the sound of sounding human, you murmur. Because judicious in the necessary use of sentimentality in a Hallmark world, you make your body into words that reveal it whether or not anyone wants to say them. Because your domain is earthquake.

6JlOXa c/o T.D.

1) Avital Ronell, Stupidity (Chicago: University of lllinois), p. 287.

79 No. 77 September 2006

laura hoptman Electricity

According to the website where Trisha Donnelly has taught in the well as musical compositions, written dialogues, and visionary proj- new genres department for the past several years: her work ques- ects as yet unrealized, like THE VIBRATION STATION (2002), tions the necessity and viability of making art. a working organ upside down. Although Donnelly’s works often However hilarious (if her course is successful, you end up in law happen only once and leave behind no record, and the sound school!), it is not a surprising assessment, considering that the topic pieces are timed to go off at intervals, making them easy to miss dominating a substantial number of articles on the artist written entirely-to call her work ephemeral is to miss crucial elements of its over the past few years is just how impervious Donnelly’s practice is existence. Donnelly’s demonstrations-re-enactments of events that to interpretation. Words like “ephemeral,” “immaterial,” “ambig- may or may not have occurred in history-happen for a witnessable uous” and phrases like “barely visible” and “difficult to decode,” period, but continue for much longer, as her activity does some- point the discourse on Donnelly towards dilations on strategic ob- thing to alter time, space, or, more grandly, history. Of her now scurity, the subjective esoteric, and even the paranormal. Without infamous work at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York in 2002-in being exactly pejorative, these frustrated attempts to explain Don- which she rode in on a horse dressed as a courier to read a decree nelly’s work reveal how profoundly misunderstood it really is. Don- of surrender on behalf of Napoleon, and rode out again--she ex- nelly might be the single truest artist/believer in the necessity and plains that her gesture not only ended a conflict that had ceased viability of art after, say, Barnett Newman. without formal armistice, but that it finally made the iconic Em- Donnelly’s oeuvre is uncharacterizable and polymorphous. It peror exist as a human. Unbeaten, Napoleon remains iconic; in includes text, demonstrative activity, intermittent sound, fields of defeat, he can symbolize a death for all eternity. We, on the other energy, gravitational forces, levers (and the drawings that are their hand, having witnessed this historical punctum, are rendered more portals), video, and photographic evidence of metaphoric phe- alive. “The emperor has fallen and he rests his weight upon your nomena, as mind and mine,” Donnelly read in her pronouncement, “and with this I am electric, I am electric.”l) A similar sensitivity to dimensionality--in the conceptual sense of time and in the physical sense of space--is necessary to fully consider Donnelly’s

LAURA HOPTMAN is a curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Previ- ously she was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA, where she organized the 2004-2005 Carnegie International, and a curator of drawing at The Museum of Modern Art.

67 PARKETT 77 2006 Trisha Donnelly drawings, which, although rendered with careful, almost pedantic valent. A still photo can remain a still photo, even as it unfolds in attention to detail, can still be extremely reticent, even if the im- time. Take, for example, THE REDWOOD AND THE RAVEN age is recognizable, as in UNTITLED (2005), a slim bell pull--a (2004), a sequence of thirty-one black-and-white photographs of ripcord that at first glance seems available only to the wildly imagi- the modern dancer Frances Flannery who performs a work she native and to those who read wall labels. UNTITLED is an exam- choreographed to a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. As a super slow- ple of the way that, in Donnelly’s drawings, as well as in some of motion animation, each photo in the sequence is shown individu- her photographs, it is not what is depicted that counts, but rather ally for a single day over a period of thirty-one days. Text on paper, what it does and, concomitantly, what it is. Perceptually, the work is which is normally flat, gains volume in Donnelly’s hands, in both merely a pencil drawing of a piece of rope with a toggle, but meta- sound and substance. BZRK (2003) is a poster-text produced for physically it is a work of art predicated on the artist’s awareness of the fiftieth Venice Biennale, but more importantly, it is a character her ability to make the thing itself, and not just a representation of insertion of an historical, secret human weapon let loose during it (like Barnett Newman’s zips or Jasper Johns’ flags). Likewise, the wartime. The poster is not an orthographic acronym for the noun viewer can choose to believe that the work is a picture of a rope, or “berserk,” it is the Berserker-hysterical, in the very hot Venetian an actual ripcord attached to a parachute that can save your life in summer of 2003. an intellectual freefall. Text then, as Donnelly proves, does not only represent form, Donnelly has a way with mediums, or rather, has her way with it is form, just as action is, and can be read, heard, felt, or wit- mediums in a manner that makes them useless as descriptive des- nessed. Concomitantly, sculpture might be, as someone once said, ignations. She requires of them that they supersede their expected the thing you bump into when you back up to look at a painting, parameters, and requires of us that we understand them as multi- but it is also the act of backing up as well as the space into which

TRISHA DONNELLY, THE VIBRATION STATION, 2002, silver gelatin print, 4 x 5” / DIE VIBRATIONSSTATION, Silbergelatine-Abzug, 10 x 12,7 cm

68 TRISHA DONNELLY, BLIND FRIENDS, 2001 C-print, 11 x 17” / BLINDE FREUNDE, C-Print, 28 x 43 cm

one backs. It is clear that sounds--a bell, a cannon, a voice that can really be faulted for observing that Donnelly’s work is inex- cries furtively, “Oh Egypt!” have bodies and can situate themselves plicable because, in fact, it is. This, of course, in no way blocks us within spaces, fill them, as well as travel through them. Sound can from understanding it. And when understanding hits, and when also be text. Take for example the title that exists only in audio of a the ideas that are her works constitute themselves in my mind, I am series of Donnelly’s pencil drawings (2002) - a sound, fittingly, that electric, I too am electric. can not be described in words. Donnelly’s work seems to exude a profound belief in the notion of art as a situational phenomenon based on how it exists in rela- tion to other things in the world and, just as importantly, how it is experienced. For Donnelly, your reception of a work of art should be dependent upon where you are and when you arrived there, upon whether you try to parse it based on previously received ideas or consider it in medias res, whether you see it or apprehend it in other myriad ways. An early work, BLIND FRIENDS (2001), is a large group photo of people on a beach. Instructed to walk in the direction of the wind, they have been photographed heading off in every direction. The photo is an exquisite instruction or, to some, a clue as to how to approach Donnelly’s work to get to where you are going, you don’t always have to see where you are going. An addendum: not seeing something does not mean that it isn’t there. The difficulty that one encounters in trying to decipher Don- nelly’s work is a symptom of what makes it so powerful and so crucially important at this moment in time, within a contemporary art ecosystem dominated by the eminently readable. Beyond her time-traveling acts of valor and her medium-shifting, Donnelly’s work lies beyond the specificity of language. Her oeuvre repre- sents a truly contemporary, truly radical re-interpretation of the notion of a work of art as the embodiment of the Absolute, as it was first expressed by postwar artists like Barnett Newman who, weighed down by apocalyptic events, and puffed up by a lunatic belief in art as a talismanic, even godly thing, saw in it salvation or at least profound revelation. It was Newman writing at the start of the Abstract Expressionist odyssey who first drew the line between merely making (performing, interpreting, illustrating, arranging) and creating--bringing into existence a new totality, an end in it- self. For Newman, what was at stake was no less than the chance to contribute to reality. Donnelly’s work engages in this very gambit. Newman also believed, as does Donnelly, that something that is ex- ists as pure knowledge and is, in this way, inchoate, fundamentally inexpressible as language. Images too are poor vessels to embody the echte reality of an idea like, for example, “I am,” and thus they must be accompanied by conviction, which is to say that no one 1)Exhibition list, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York, 2005


ANS ULRICH OBRIST: The interview Hhappens now at the corner of Rue Jacob and Rue Bonaparte, already this interview goes com- pletely circular and reminds me of your favorite message from The Young Ones [British TV series, 1982-84] Trisha Donnelly: Oh yes. “Meanwhile, the next day.” It’s a break of narrative formula, usually for film, TV or radio. Something is happening in the pint and normally the device is to say, “and the next day” or “meanwhile in Paris” or “mean- while in Los Angeles.” In The Young Ones, in between the change of a scene all of a sudden it says, “meanwhile, the next day” it reversed the function after that, but of course then you realize the next day is the projected idea of the next day.

HUO: Rirkrit Tiravanija would say “tomorrow is another fine day” It’s a very Buddhist sentence. TD: It’s true. But then you don’t have a past but you have a future. So “meanwhile, the next day” I think is a simple validation of the space and time continuim suggestion.

HUO: You said this is a totally historical and in- destructible idea. TD: I think that when you have a phrase that names the next day as being the past it is com- pletely indestructible. Once you say that tomor- row is the past, it is indestructible. The duality of any day is that it is bookended by the ideas of the previous day and the day to come. In some ways it seems our memory is much simpler that we think, so we project memory into the future. We have a memory of the future...

HUO: Recently Stephanie Moisdon curated a show that included your first piece. Can you tell me about it? TD: It was called She Said (1989). Funny. I was sixteen and came to understand the object nature of “ ”. If you have words and they are said, then they are said and they stay in the environment like a load of mass. She Said is about the first time I understood that; it was the same sensation as Clockwise from top left: Let’em, 2005. Print from digital image, dimensions variable; Untitled, 2005. Pencil on col- mass. So it’s the side of a chair and it just says ored paper, 65 x 52 cm; The Redwood and teh Raven, 2004. 31 silver gelatin prints (one print is exhibited daily), each “She Said” painted on it. 18 x 13 cm; Untitled, 2005. C-print, 18 x 13 cm. Opposite: Untitled, 2005. B/wreprint, 64 x 46 cm

HUO: Could you talk about your drawings? thinking of than of myself (i.e., an action). Draw- And the other one is The Vortex (2001), which is TD: I think that they relate to objects the way ings can be a more intense version of the presence the beginning of something. I understood very that you listen to the radio, if you have a radio on. I think. They can act as actions. They are worse, simply with physical space. You know when some I draw when the radio is on. When I’m drawing, more horrible. More distant. people see the color red they have a fit, which they I just wait a really long time because I have to do think seperates them from the normal world. It’s the right thing. So I don’t draw all day, but when HUO: We have [Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris] two a physical response to the visual. So the vortex is I have the thing I am supposed to draw I draw all drawings published in the catalogue I Still Believe something that I have understood as one of those day and all night. in Miracles. Can you tell me about them? thresholds. TD: Well, one is Untitled. This is of an extinct HUO: It comes from an object or it comes from object, which is this specific act of unlatching on HUO: Rupprecht Geiger, the more than ninety an idea? a leg. It’s an action that is extinct because people year old German painter, for many decades devel- TD: Both. Sometimes it comes from the sight of don’t know how to put them on or take them off oped an almost obsessive attraction to the color an object, sometimes sight is virtual. Some of anymore because they are not worn. Every time red. There is a physical aspect to red. the object are sounds; some of the sounds are somebody would ask at the place where it was TD: I think perhaps red is our most physically hu- drawings, but I think that the drawings that I do shown. “What is that?” the person who works manly understandable color because it’s the first are more of a physical realization of what I am there has to show them: “it is...” So Untitled is that. time we see ouselves dying. Blood pouring out.

March April 2006 Flash Art 59 to ask if it really needs to exist in the world and the film moments in poetry. I grew up watching Clockwise from left: The Vibration Station, should you do the deed of adding more sh*t to the films that were already old. We weren’t allowed 2002. B/W silver print, 10 x 12 cm; Hand that world. I write every day; that’s more where I do to watch TV so we watched John Wayne’s films, Holds the Desert Down, 2002. Silver gelatin my everyday obsessive habit. Gary Cooper’s films, classic westerns, so I think print, 13 x 18 cm; Untitled, 2005. Video, loop. there would be these epic statements that act as All images: Courtes of Air de Paris, Paris and HUO: So writing, the texts are a daily practice for catalysts more than like a constructed poem. John Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York you. Wayne would walk into a space and say something TD: Yes, the texts. They also take a long time. and then the entire film would shift. The film in Sometimes I begin a text one year and then I finish this type of action set up is literally build for and HUO: So The Vortex has to do with perception. it in four years. around his lines. Set-up lines, to wind it’s way TD: It’s more than that, I think. It’s not even as around the text. The mass of the world. It is kind of much perception, but it’s imperceptible motion: HUO: I am very interested in this link from art to like this basic masculinity, mutuality and intensity you realize that you physically move through the literature and poetry because art has created all that are like an explosive statement, the low-grade viewable image. The corresponding piece is a kinds of bridges in the recent years to music, to cin- hesitation and the verbal release. Some films have demonstration- also called The Vortex (2003)- I did ema, but the link to literature is too rare. Your own shorter leashes for this type of thing and make a which consists of a Russian song where if you link is a very rare instance of bringing back that link faster dialogue. Snap you back in quicker. So, if the highest man’s voice and the lowest man’s voice to poetry, and what is interesting is that poetry is you could build poetry that had a function to more a you can build a vortex in your mind. When I play maybe the only art form that has not been recuper- plot or a story, that was what I found really incred- the song and I state the formula, each member of ated by the market. ible. But you know I think I was looking for it. I the audience builds a sculpture in their mind that is TD: It never will be. The only time it had a posi- needed to translate it into that structure. It’s text like a vortex. So you have hundreds of these built bility was in advertising, which has beautiful stuff with camera movement build in, understood as part and rendered point-placed never-ending vortexes sometimes. But poetry has regained its status in a of the formula, like writing with the correct sense in people’s minds. Hundreds of sculptures. I con- way: as people believing that it has a compression of punctuation. sider it more of a sculpture. A mass. that is important. It’s both horrible and perfect si- multaneously. HUO: You film when you travel. You were filming HUO: The drawing is a trigger for vortex. It is not here in Paris too. What about your filmmaking? Is an object in this regard. HUO: And you are a native daughter of San Fran- it a daily practice for you? TD: It’s not. But a vortex is never an object; it’s cisco, which is a city of poetry; I think of City TD: It’s a daily accidental thing. The camera is something else. We don’t have a word for this. It’s Lights Bookstore and the whole beat generation. palm sized. I never think about it. the same problem when you don’t have a word for Have these people been important for you? “not performance,” it is not performance. TD: No, actually, not at all. I was not so much a HUO: Can you tell me about your bigger photo- beat fan. Unless you could call Gertrude Stein a graphs? HUO: Cartier-Bresson told me the last time I in- beat. But it’s a different temperment. TD: Some big, some small. The big ones are more terviewed him: “photographs should be more seen like architecture. So polluting with columns. We in books than polluting too many walls” The same HUO: And who are your heroes in poetry? should have a problem with photography. That’s thing is true for the way you use drawings and TD: I love Ahkmatova. Marianne Moore, H.D., all I know. photographs; they are rare instances. It is against Michaux and I love Yeats because I have an obses- pollution. sion with the Irish disaster, the feelings of disaster. Hans Ulrich Obrist is an art critic and curator based in TD: Yes. I think polluting something displays that If a text’s category is somehow loosley dependent Paris. you are sure of the things and mortally terrified. on structure then so many things can fall into and Every time you make a piece of work you have out of the form. I had a kind of dumb attraction to Trisha Donnelly was born in 1974 in San Francisco. She lives and works in San Francisco.

60 Flash Art March April 2006 Chrissie IIes & Philippe Vergne, eds., Day for Night; Whitney Biennial 2006, New York; Whitney Msueum of American Art & Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2006

TRISHA DONNELLY Born 1974, San Francisco, California; lives in San Francisco, California

Trisha Donnelly bucks the convention that binds the exhibition to an expectation of being visible and presentable to viewers over a predetermined length of time. Her demonstrations occur unannounced and remain undocumented, at her insis- tence, and these unpredictable works are presented without explanation, creating an evasive mysteriousness that functions almost like a Hitchco*ckian “McGuffin.” Just as that plot device twists the narrative of a film, thereby disrupting its tempo- ral logic, Donnelly’s works question the very nature and logic of the exhibition. In an untitled work at the Cologne Kunstverein in 2005, Donnelly presented a grand, improvised organ work-created by an organist in collaboration with the artist-which was played only for a few minutes as the museum opened and right before it closed, thus marking the working day but also suggesting that the real goings-on might take place after hours. A single coughing sound was buried in the 20-minute recording. Visitors might be there at the wrong time and miss hearing it; or, they might hear it but think they’d imagined it.

Donnelly’s silent untitled video (2005) appeases viewers’ expectations only slightly more. Consisting of a frozen image of a taxidermied wildcat on a 10-min- ute loop, it shakes violently for 20 seconds every couple of minutes, as though the camera were convulsing. Neither medium nor message is explained, and although the convulsions suggest a potential narrative, none unfolds. This abrupt minimal- istic aesthetic is also apparent in Donnelly’s drawings, which often isolate a single element of an image, such as a sheet of cascading water cut off jaggedly in midair or a chinchilla’s ear. Such truncated hints elude attempts to piece them together into coherence.

Donnelly’s works, especially her demonstrations, contain certain extravagant ele- ments. In an untitled piece for the opening of her debut solo exhibition in New York in 2002, she arrived unannounced and dressed in full Napoleonic costume on a white horse, dismounted, read a short proclamation, and then left. The act of withholding as much as possible from viewers so they appreciate all the more what little is released to them seems almost quaint in the context of our contempo- rary zoom-lens society. But Donnelly resists the expectation that art be quantifi- able and lasting, favoring instead a carefully administered titillation. ESM Kunstmagazin art quarterly 3 2005

1. I often ask myself, “What’s all this good for?” Although it is a banal question, even slightly mean, one could perhaps be deceiving oneself, Trisha Donnelly: Negative Space it protects one from a willing suspension of disbelief. Then there are equally incomprehensible works, also films, poems or texts to which I say, “What is this supposed to mean? “What the hell were they thinking about?” Thus the challenge. This is how I felt; this is how I feel when I look at the work of Heimo Zobernig, for example. Ultimately there are Sie erscheint als napoleonishcer Kurier hoch works that I not only fail to understand, but ought to even reject - such as zu Ross auf ihrer Vernissage, versucht in einem those of Trisha Donnelly. Video mit absurden Gesten in Kanada Regen 2 Press release by the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, October zu erzeugen oder springt am Trampolin in die 2004. Posen von Rockstars: Die dramatischen Mini- Perfor-mances der Amerikanerin Trisha Don- FOR IMMEDlATE RELEASE nelly lassen ihr Publikum in einer Mischung aus TRISHA DONNELLY Faszination und Ratlosigkeit zuruk. Ende letzen EXHIBITION DATES OCTOBER 15-NOVEMBER 12, 2004 OPENING: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22ND 6-8PM Jahreswurde sie mit dem renommierten Kolner GALLERY HOURS: TUESDAY - SATURDAY, 10 - 6PM Central-Kunstpreis ausgezeichnet. Dear Casey, Daniel Baumann versucht Donnellys Wek zu My upcoming show will indude fassen und zu verstehen. Drawings photographs a video (possibly) and a couple of other works as well. Also, there is a piece that changes very slightly everyday during the show. I believe I have discovered a loophole.

I’m no longer in San Francisco. I’m in New York. I’m around. And you’ll be seeing me a lot. And yes, I understand that the gallery is open from 10-6.

Very sincerely Trisha

3 At the 54th Carnegie International, 2004/2005 in Pittsburgh, Trisha Donnelly presented the video projection Night Is Coming (Warning) (2002), the audio work Dark Wind, comprised of two man-sized photographs of heraldic swords, and Letter to Tacitus. In the work Night is Coming, the words in pale blue letters appear and vanish like a sinister She appears at her opening as a Napoleonic lullaby. In Dark Wind the sound of rushing wind is transmitted across the room from a hidden corner at irregular intervals. Letter to Tacitus is courier on horseback, tries in a video to produce a mixture off-ecitation and performance. At 12 noon sharp everyday, rain in Canada with absurd gestures or jumps a well-dressed elderly gentleman walks across the exhibition space on a trampoline posing as one rock star after an- and reads out the letter to Tacitus: other: the dramatic mini-performances of the My dear Tacitus, This you must know: American Trisha Donnelly leave her audience There is no ideal Rome. with a mixture of fascination and confused help- And no one is closer to this than the true believer. And no one is further from this than the true believer. lessness. At the end of last year she was awarded That dream is not a map to your earthly paradise. It is instead a death the Central Kunstpreis, a renowned Cologne art of straightened pain and demand. A blank space. If existence were its destiny, its bounds would be more painful than life within the walls we prize. Daniel Baumann tries to grasp and com- know. prehend and understand Donnelly’s work.. Yet so. or photographs or any other form of documentation 9. I had, in fact, discarded the notion that art can, In the sorrow of these truths is the key to the living exist. They circulate solely in the form of renarration, or should, comment on questions of existence. In the Elysium. Your dying call from this just state. The hope which cannot relive the emptiness after the collision past, this would have almost invariably led to cult, which you carry in your chest and mind. The love for but does, however, recreate a certain atmosphere. discipleship and the business of faith. Away with con- this: that is your greatest salvation. That is your para- tent. Form is everything, even if it is admittedly just an dise. umbrella. And then comes this Trisha Donnelly with 5. A similar dynamism also underlies the audio piec- a kin of encyclopedia of disturbance and anxiety, of For the true Romans the rue above dark water. The es. In the self contained situation of an exhibition, the blank space and of disappearance. Moreover, she even true Rome is man’s hope for the true Rome. clanging of bells Untitled (The Bell), 2000, the rushing speaks a language I understand: of both total respect Your blood and brother of wind (Dark Wind, 2002), the howling of a wolf (The and total disrespect for material, conventions and the E. Howl, 2002), a canon shot (Canon, 2003) or the hissing world. of laser shots take the visitor by surprise. The record- ings are played intermittently, come on in a flash and 10. “Poetry 4. On the occasion of her first solo exhibition in are difficult to localise. The staging of the outside I, too, dislike it: there are things that me important be- 2002, Trisha Donnelly surprised the visitors with an world disrupts the ideal of space and the rigidity of re- yond all this fiddle. Reading it, however, with a perfect unannounced performance. Dressed as Napoleon’s ception of art within it; a Brechtian alienation whose contempt for it; one discovers in it, after all, a place for courier, she came into the Casey Kaplan Gallery in underlying pedagogic urge, however, is swallowed up the genuine.” Chelsea, New York, riding a white horse and read out by the black hole of absurdity. (Marianne Moore (1887-1972) the news of capitulation: Translated by Nita Tandon Be still and hear me. 6. Trisha Donnelly became widely known through I am a courier. I am only a courier. But I come her two videos Untitled (Jumping), 1999 and Canadian with news of destruction. I come to declare his end. Rain, 2002. In the first video loop she jumps up and TRISHA DONNELLY If it need be termed surrender then let it be so. For down on a trampoline that is not in view, imitating at 1974 in San Francisco geboren, lebt in he has surrendered in word not in will. He has said, the highest point: of each leap the ecstatic poses of San Fransisco/Born 1974, San Fransisco. ‘My fall will be great but at least useful.’ The emperor famous and unknown rock singers. In Canadian Rain, Lives in San Fransisco has fallen and he rests his weight upon your mind and clad in a trench coat she looks straight into the camera mine. And with this I am electric. I am electric. while performing a series of precise, incomprehensible Canadian Rain, 2002 And Then Donnelly turned her horse about and gestures with the absurd aim to bring about rain in 8 mm-Film, Loop rode out into the night. New York critic Jerry Saltz Canada. Both videos show moments of high concen- transferred to DVD, recentIy recalled this scene, “At around seven o’clock tration and exercise of will. In Untitled (Jumping), while 6 min loop, video still on the night of April 5, 2004, ‘Trisha Donnelly stole switching direction, the dead point crystallises into a my aesthetic heart. ‘That evening, the then 28-year- state of highest intensity, and in Canadian Rain belief old artist rode into her debut at the Casey Kaplan Gal- in willpower stands in total contrast to reality. Canadian lery outfitted like a Napoleonic soldier astride a white Rain is the very image of desertion: just left in the rain. stallion. The opening came to a standstill as the small crowd stared in stunned silence at this apparition.” 7. New Amateurism. In the 1990s professionalism Jerry Saltz, “Thinking Outside the Box”, in The Village was an imperative in art production as well. Better and SELECTED EXHIBITIONS Voice, 3 - 9 November, (2004). better software and cheap manufacturing methods led 2005 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow At the end of the group show Kontext, Form, Traja, to perfect products, perfect processes and important in Autumn 2003, Trisha Donnelly asked the visitors partnerships with the cultural industry. At the same 2004 Casey Kaplan, New York to lie down in the Vienna Secession’s totally darkened time, a re-amateurisation took place with catchwords- 54th Carnegie lntemational, Carnegie Museum main hall and concentrate on the song The Battle of like low-tech, low-fi and fazine culture. of Art, Pittsburgh, PA Bordino. In a voice that is gentle yet insistent she asked The amateur distinguishes himself by virtue of Collection (or How I spent a year) at P.S.1, New York them to become immersed in the sounds, to go along total dedication with which he substitutes education Tuesday Is Gone, Tbilisi, Georgia with the whirl of notes and surrender themselves to the and expertise. He replaces what is missing with pas- vortex of the music. After the song had been played sion, filling in the gaps with love while single-mindedly 2003 Atto Primo, Galeria Massimo de Carlo, Milan again and again, the artist, her voice once again in- aiming at not being seen as amateur. Trisha Donnelly Gray Area: Certain Images: Bay Area Photography sistent, asked whether everyone had experienced the takes the same path in many of her works, although in 1970s to Now, CCAC Wattis maelstrom. Ten minutes after everyone had said they- the opposite direction. Dedication, sincerity and con- Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco had, the lights went on. Donnelly now invited them all centration do not close the gaps between perfection, Spectacular: The Art of Action, Museum Kunst Palast, to follow her to the small garden behind the Secession willpower and reality but rather keep them open so Dusseldorf building and walked straight to a tree behind which that the missing remains what it is: a vordcious mon- Utopia Station, Biennale Venedig, Venice Biennale stood a man in black trousers and white shirt in tile ster and an energy machine. Kontext, Form, Noja, Wiener Secession, Wien/ Vienna dark and cold night. Donnelly drew him forward and called out to the people,. “He’s been standing there for 8. The exhibition as performance. The sudden on- 2002 Casey Kaplan 10-6, New York the past three years yet none of you has ever noticed set of the audio-pieces transforms the contemplative Air de Paris, Paris him!” Slowly the stranger withdrew into the dark. . . visitors into restless animals. The unexpected recital How Extraordinary that the World Exists, CCAC Wattis’ In her micro happenings, Trisha Donnelly sud- by some bloke who walked in at the 54th Carnegie Institute for Contemporary Arts, Oakland, CA denly takes a dramatic, highly stylised event break into International made the viewers turn into confused Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a friendly yet solemn situation. A self-contained state listeners. Donnelly redistributed the roles and forced New York; Guggenheim Bilbao is first built up and then destroyed unexpectedly. This people into behaving differently, even those who were collision of two seemingly irreconcilable situations responsible for the show. This created loopholes, em- 2001 I Love Dijon, Le Consortium, Dijon provokes a fleeting collapse, a brief moment of disori- barrassing moments and silence, relativising her own The Dedalit Convention, MAK, Wien! Vienna entation in which - provided of course one was hit by work and its meaning. When asked about the meaning Minkfaa. Mark Foxx, Los Angeles it one becomes briefly giddy. This giddiness helps in of the drawing The Passenger, the assistants of the Mas- bridging the sudden void after the collapse and it also simo de Carlo Gallery in Milan had to respond with represented by CASEY KAPLAN GALLERY, New York stands for the desperate attempt to regain self-control. an answer prepared by the artist. In the 2004 exhi bi- It is therefore analogous to delusion that is not, as usu- tion, the owners of the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New ally assumed, comparable to the moment of collapse York were instructed to hang a new photograph every A1R DE PARlS, Paris but rather to the attempts at composure afterward. morning from the series called The Redwood and the Ra- Disorientation and delusion [Wahn] are states brought ven showing a dancer in different poses. upon by a desperate attempt at finding meaning [Sinn] They were also asked to ensure that visitors did not still implied in the German word for insanity Wahn- cross the gallery space when the audio piece The Shield sinn. These micro-happenings or “demonstrations” as began. Donnelly calls them are never documented. No films Opening: Friday, 26 August, 6—9pm

Any exhibition by US artist Trisha Donnelly (born in 1974, lives and works in San Francisco) always confronts viewers with an experience of the potentiality and on occasion also with pure absence. She works in a whole gamut of media, ranging from drawing, video, photography, sound and text to performances (which Trisha Donnelly terms “demonstrations”). And when using them she is forever exploring the place from which “things” first become infused with existence and meaning.

If Trisha Donnelly entitles a photo of a sphinx «Hands that hold the Desert Down» (2002), then she not only changes our perception of this all too familiar photo (if it were a reality that the desert, the sand of the desert were merely held down by the Sphinx’s massive paws, what happens if they stand up and head off, does the desert than disappear?), but also the meaning of images in general and the relation of language to images. Canadian Rain, 2002 8 mm-Film, Loop transferred to DVD, If Trisha Donnelly transforms sounds into physical presence in her sound piece «The Shield» (2004), by using a refined 6 min loop, video still sound sequence of sonorous deep through metallically high sounds and great technical precision in the sounds to create a non-material wall that divides a room, then she transforms sensory perception from one sense into the other, and plays with the borderlines of this perception, with realities, with language, experience and signifying assignation.

Synesthesia, in other words the transposition or simultaneous perception of sensory impressions otherwise experienced separate from one another plays a major role in Donnelly’s oeuvre (see colors in letters or numbers, the perception of forms when hearing music, and much else besides). She does so not because of some excessively intense or exagger- ated perceptual abilities on her own part (or among artists in general), but as a potential means of permeating and thus reconfiguring reality. KUNSTHALLE ZÜRICH Her works are always geared to moments of absolute concentration - and they are likewise always focused on the simul- taneity of magic, irritation and a constructive blank space. Her works also always take us beyond what we think we have grasped at first glance, that first encounter, that initial experience, and trigger the interaction of physical and imagined, of real and fictitious in a different way in each individual viewer.

Trisha Donnelly’s performances are never documented: They exist as oral records by those who experienced them, in other words in countless individual versions. On the opening of one of her first solo shows, in 2000 at the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, she rode into the gallery rooms high on a horse, Napoleon’s messenger, announced the emperor’s capitulation (among other things with the words: «He capitulates, only by word not by will.») and intoning the words «I am electric, I am electric» rode off again. In another of her demonstrations she asked the audience to read out loud from the libretto of Alexander Scriabin’s unfinished symphony «Mysterium» - Scrjabin is said to have been a synesthetic and he planned this symphony as a seven-day spectacular of sensory sensations made up of music, text, dance, light, fire and smell. After the reading, Donnelly turned the lights off and played a record- ing of a piece of music while explaining that she had come across the recording during an eclipse of the sun. After her lecture, she informed the audience that she wished to seize the next morning of everybody present, thus took a place in the mind of every individual participant in the performance, not only appropriating their time, but also turning them into an artwork. She typically executes all her actions with great concentration and a fascinating intensity. She playfully engages with group phenomena, cultic practices and the creation of myths, and above all by logical advancing conceptual art prac- tices, considering the work to first be realized in the viewer.

Ever more often, Trisha Donnelly delegates the “action” to the audience or a selected protagonist. For example, her photo-work «The Redwood and the Raven» (2004) consists of 31 small-format b&w photos: for each, Donnelly asked dancer Frances Flannery to perform a certain sequence of movements that she then photographed. However, the work is only ever displayed in the form of one photograph, which the gallery, institution or collector has to change each day the presentation lasts. The picture itself does not succeed in documenting a movement in time; the absent piece, the transi- tion becomes more important than the fixed image.

Many of the photo and sound pieces refer to events that were announced but did not take place - what will actually hap- pens remains open or is the product of our imagination, our memory, our supposition. Her sound piece «Dark Wind» (2002) periodically reproduces the sound of the howling wind - an experience which we may know from early Westerns in which the «Dark Wind» was a preferred tool to announce an event. Her photo-piece «The Black Wave» (2002) shows the natural phenomenon of giant waves before or after a storm. Wind and water, sound and images point to an event, possible occurrence, change. And like all Trisha Donnelly’s works, the piece unfolds more through a system of different references than from the material. Positioned somewhere between experience, scientific analysis, an act of the will or the imagination, her works function in the ephemeral, at times coincidental, and raise profound questions about what art is, what reality we trust, and how we construct them in the interstices of material and spirit, abstraction and experience, belief and knowledge. Trisha Donnelly CENTRAL Art Prize

25 June 4 September 2005

Kölnischer Kunstverein Die Brücke, Hahnenstraße 6 D-50667 Köln [emailprotected]

For the fifth time, the CENTRAL Health Insurance Company in cooperation with the Kölnischer Kunstverein awards the CENTRAL Art Prize for international artists. With the previous prize-winners Rirkrit Tiravanija (1996), Douglas Gordon (1998), Ernesto Neto (2000) and Florian Pumhösl (2002) the CENTRAL Art Prize has achieved an outstanding reputation within the fine arts scene, which is now continued with the nomination of rishaT Donnelly. Trisha Donnelly was nominated by an international jury consisting of Chen Y. Chaos, chief curator at the Millennium Art Museum in Peking, Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator at the Musée d´Art Modèrne de la Ville de Paris, and Beatix Ruf, director of the Kunsthalle Zürich. With the promotional prize amounting to Euro 75.000,- , in addition to its collection of contemporary art, the CENTRAL Health In- surance Company clearly signals its attention to the most recent trends in contemporary fine art, contributing to its devel- opment with active support. The CENTRAL Art Prize enables the prize-winner to spend half a year in Cologne to work on the realization of a new art project, being presented now in this exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein.

With her installations, video and sound work, photographs, performances, and drawings, Trisha Donnelly has a very special way of creating moments of absolute concentration and focus. Almost obsessively, she plays with a mixture of fascination and perplexity. Through her insistent demonstrations of exertion and dedication, it seems that she is capable of altering reality through will alone which results in an attraction of immense intensity. But instead of resolving the situations previously imagined to be safe, but now broken and totally uncertain she leaves us behind with a striking feeling of deep, unsettling emptiness and insecurity.

In her work, Trisha Donnelly explores again and again the boundaries of sensual perception. In sound pieces such as The Shield (2004), she uses a full, deep tone that sounds at regular intervals with such intensity that it becomes a physi- cally tangible barrier. That which seems immaterial to us now becomes an architectonic element which divides an entire space into separate areas but whose impact only unfolds within the visitor himself. Her photograph The Black Wave (2002) shows a wave with an overwhelming and also hidden power swelling up within it. This power reminds one of se- vere weather of rain or a storm but gives us no hint about how the situation resolves itself. And so it is the ephemeral, the incidental which play a special role in Trisha Donnellys work when at the opening of her exhibition at the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York she appears on horseback as a Napoleonic messenger and announces Napoleons surrender to the stunned crowd before turning on her horse and riding back into the New York night. These performances, which Trisha Donnelly herself calls demonstrations are nei- ther documented on film nor in writing. They are only spread by word of mouth by those who have personally experienced Trisha Donnellys performance.

With her work, Trisha Donnelly lets our imagination go beyond what we think we recognize at first glance which results in a constant interplay between physical and imagined space; between reality and fiction. She throws us back to the pro- found question what can we really be sure of? upon which we base our existence. And she does so in a stirring manner that is unique in its strength and absoluteness.

For her first big solo exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein,Trisha Donnelly has produced new works and has designed the exhibition architecture herself. The drawings, film and sound works, and photographs being presented were almost all created during her 6-month stay in Cologne and are also a result of her exploration of the exhibition venue, its history and significance.

Biographical Information Trisha Donnelly, born in 1974, lives and works in San Francisco. Solo and group exhibitions(selected): Le Consortium, Dijon (2001); Casey Kaplan, New York (2002); Utopia Station, 50th Biennale of Venice (2003); 54th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2004); Junge Szene, Seces- sion, Vienna (2003); Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zürich (2003); It happened tomorrow, Biennale de Lyon (2003); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2004); Art Pace, San Antonio (2005). Trisha Donnelly is the artworld’s best-kept secret. Working on a strictly need- to-know basis, the 32 year old San Franciscan creates photography and performance pieces that defy categorisation. Notoriously arriving at her NY gallery debut on a white stallion and in full Napoleonic regalia, the myth is as important as the method to this artist’s artist. Here Donnelly and renowned international cu- rator Hans Ulrich Obrist move through her cryptic worlds


HANS ULRICH OBRIST; A sense of time and time codes seems to be a thread So much of your work is to do with time codes. I was wonder1ng lf you think that runs through many of your works. I just saw your new piece at there is any link to the work of John Cage? Casey Kaplan gallery wh1ch is a very sporadic sound plece. Can you tell I think automatically there is a link to Cage whenever there is something me about it? that is running all the time and people are talking over it. I think it’s a TRISHA DONNELLY; It’s the sound of a cannon from the turn of the cen- natural understanding of mine that when you have something like an artwork, tury and it goes off randomly, so that when you’re looking at somebody you experience it then it’s over. It happens, you experience it, most of else’s work a cannon goes off in your mind. It’s not that loud but it’s the time you forget it then you remember it later. The sound just ends up frightening maybe. being memory of another sound, because it doesn’t stay around long enough to How is it triggered? figure it, you know? It’s just randomly set up. It’s not triggered by anything. It goes all Besides Cage I was wondering who are your other heroes? day long and all night long... Maybe it started with more musicians. I really like Johnny Mathis. It was in Is it different sometimes? Is it always the same sound? sounds and voices like that that I kind of understood certain things. As for It’s slightly different. It has slight different reverberations but artists, I change my mind so often, but recently I really like that Steven pretty much the same sound. Braun. Steven Braun who has declared all shoe stores in Amsterdam to be an

216 i-D. VOL II/II N0252 THE FeMININe ISSUe Above, left: ‘The passenger’, 2004 pencil on paper 269 x 105,5 cm. Above, right: ‘Untitled’, 2004, RC prints diptych, 340 x 76 cm each. Opposite page: ‘Untitled’, 2004. pendl and ink on paper, 47 x 33 cm. Courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York and Air de Paris, Paris.

artwork. different gestures and nobody would see it. What I realised was that Secrets. I’m very interested in the concept of secrets in our work. The certain actions and certain things you say can become evasive and inva- first time I got to know your work it was all to do with events which sive. It’s like a crank call. are somehow performances but are actually secrets. So I was wondering What? if you could tell me a little bit about your own notion of the secret, Crank call; You know, somebody says ‘Hello, is your refrigerator run- this aspect of you not wanting things to be announced? ning?’ They say ‘Yes’. And you say: ‘Oh you better run and catch that.’ I think it’s more than that. It began as terror like fear, because [Laughs]. Or something like that. if you tell somebody everything, then they can know exactly when and I was also interested to know if you had any projects that had been too how you’re going to do something wrong. So if you replace that kind big to be realised or even too small. of knowledge with waiting, sometimes people are happy that something I still wish I could make the Vibration Station, the organ that goes actually happened at all! I think that was my first inclination, so it into the ground. But it’s much better if it’s never made. wasn’t begun as a secret but it’s much more natural for me now to work How would this work? without telling people when things are going to happen. I do like that You would walk through the vibrations of a box organ concerto. It’d be if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time at some party, then you really great, because instead of the organ pushing air up to the miss something really good. Like when somebody goes through a glass ceiling, it would push air up through the floor. You know you could walk window or something. through the vibrations rising in the room. But it would never happen What were the beginnings of such secrets? There is obviously a very because it would cost millions and milions. But you know that’s prob- famous event from your first show in New York. but I was wondering if ably my most unrealised dream. But I don’t think I make my work anyway, there was a chronology - what was the beginning? it happens inside...w= Well I think that when I was in college, I did what I thought was a form of martial arts. This was: spatially you could build a house with

i-D. VOL II/II N0252 THE FeMININe ISSUe If the temperature in a room suddenly drops, the chances are a ghost is about to appear. Of course, what will happen next no one can predict, but there are spells and charms you can learn – for example, the ideal time to summon a demon is on a Tuesday, at 11 am or 1 am. This, along with other practical information, is available from the manuals in the Sixth Book of Mose, an anon- ymous guide to black magic discovered around 1600. Encounters september 2005 with the unknown have always involved some kind of ritual. Aleister Crowley maintained that occultism was a question not just of belief but also of practice, and believed it didn’t matter whether you were into magic, drugs, sex or yoga, as long as your Trisha Donnelly employs method worked for you. In 1969 Anton LaVey, in turn, promoted his Satanic Bible as ‘a primer on materialistic magic’. In con- versation Trisha Donnelly has dubbed this thoroughly pragmatic the immaterial – esoterica, attitude towards the invocation of higher states of consciousness as an ‘anti-materialist materialism’. I think this might also be the occult ritual and paranormal most apt phrase to describe what her own work is about. In a variety of media, including performance, drawings, photography, video and sound pieces, Donnelly explores the phenomena – to explore the relationship between the allure of occult experience and the material gestures, ciphers and icons by means of which it is material world of consumer conjured up. Contrary to much current art which draws on the legacy of psychedelic culture, Donnelly rarely relies on direct historical references: she never uses album covers, rare docu- experience ments or the paraphernalia associated with the cults of excess of the late 1960s, for example – although the spirit of that age by Jan Verwoert is a tangible presence in her art. What sets Donnelly’s approach apart is the way she works through the immanent logic of anti- materialist materialism at a structural level by inventing gestures, ciphers and icons that articulate and question the very conditions required for the invocation of a physical epiphany. The recording of a majestic organ concert, Untitled (2005), The Other was played during the first few minutes after the doors opened each day at Donnelly’s recent exhibition at the Cologne Kunstv- erein and again during the last minutes before the doors closed. In contrast to this solemn music, the show itself consisted of a comparatively cool installation of few selected drawings, Side photographs and a video projection. What was most notable, therefore, was the tension between the deep dark sound and the wide white room, the sacral air of the music and the sober milieu of the exhibition space. As the times of the concert meant that its audience was limited to those who either came early or stayed late, the piece played on the twin anxieties that overshadow the experience of any event like this: did we miss anything, and what happened after we left? The crucial tension between sound and space was sustained in Oh Egypt (2005), played after the organ concert at irregular in- tervals on the massive sound system in the gallery basem*nt. The piece comprised a recording of a voice – slowed down to such a low pitch that every vowel was a boost of bass frequencies – uttering the words ‘Oooh Eeegypt’. As the voice filled the room, it seemed to designate the space as a potential site of mystical experience. Yet, at the same time, it denied the actual possibility of this experience taking place, here and now, by assigning it to another time and place, an imaginary elsewhere – Ancient Egypt. Left: Like a lost soul in search of a body, the voice from the basem*nt Untitled 2005 spoke as much of the desire to make the supernatural real as of pencil on paper the impossibility of such incarnations. The humour of the piece 100 x 700cm lay in the wonderful cheapness of the sound effect, reminiscent Opposite page and of the subliminal messages you hear when playing a record overleaf: backwards or a B-movie dubbing voice. It underscored the fact Untitled that the secret of a good hair-raiser lies in the grungy materialism 2004 pencil on paper of its technological effects. If you don’t see the strings attached, Diptych: each 91 x 61cm the trick won’t work. (This is something George Lucas used to know but forgot when he went digital.) 116 | frieze | September 2005 The video Untitled (2005) went further towards capturing the essence of the materialist magic of effects technology. It showed a still image with the green tinge of a picture taken by an infra-red camera, a close-up of a stuffed animal, a wild cat (perhaps an ocelot) with big black eyes, baring its teeth. Every so often the image suddenly shook, as if the beast was momen- tarily brought to apparent life by an invisible off-screen force, emphasizing the fact that animation is the art of making inani- mate things seem alive. On the wall opposite the video booth was The Redwood and the Raven (2004), a small photograph of an old woman in a black dress and headscarf performing ceremonial gestures in a forest. Her movements were recorded in a series of 31 photographs, presented one by one on each successive day of the exhibition like a film shown frame by frame over a month. A spirit not unlike that of a Kenneth Anger movie was conjured up and translated into a ritual staged by the woman with silent grace, a nameless ceremony to evoke a presence whose nature has yet to be disclosed. Next to the photograph a pencil drawing, Untitled (2005), depicted a dark, curved shape, a piece of unidentifiable stuff with an uncanny materiality; the dense texture of the graphite made the object look simultaneously flat and rounded. This mysterious sense of corporeality was echoed by The Grounding (2004), a black and Right: white photograph of a strange bone structure – perhaps the rib The Redwood and the Raven cage of some prehistoric monster. (detail) What characterized the exhibition as a whole, however, was 2004 that the eerie feeling evoked by the individual pieces stirred but 31 silver gelatin prints never fully dominated the otherwise sober atmosphere of the 18 x 13cm white cube that provided the setting. Moreover, the pious mys- ticism was effectively leavened with a good dose of humour, for example by the inclusion of the cartoonish drawing Untitled Dressed as a soldier. (2005), which showed a sombrero hovering in mid-air like an indecisive UFO. Donnelly deliberately reduced the degree of Donnelly rode into her private mystery to just a subtle awareness of the possibility of an oc- cult experience, a sense of the ineffable produced by a series of view on a horse and announced gestures and images, all of which had a distinctive material and herself as messanger sent to corporeal quality. Metonymic substitutions for the body are a recurrent motif declare Napolean’s surrender in Donnelly’s drawings. In a show at Casey Kaplan in New York in 2004 she installed complementary drawings on two Above: sides of one wall. One depicted what appeared to be a dented in the very moment of its translation into a body language of signs, grimaces and poses. In the video Canadian Rain (2002) Untitled piece of chest armour, while the other revealed the contours of 2005 the thing like a negative imprint on a veil. Two photographs the artist gazes at the viewer, repeatedly groping at thin air Video still of heraldic swords, Untitled (2004), were installed on each before pointing at the wall behind her. It is a ritual Donnelly side of a doorway. Bend Sinister (2004) is a drawing of a blue conceived to make rain in Canada. In an untitled performance reflective rectangular shape, which could equally well be a in 2002 Donnelly, dressed in the uniform of a Napoleonic blade or its sheath, a glass vial or a mirror screen. Ciphers of soldier, rode into the private view of her show on a horse and things that reflect, shield or penetrate the body were thus linked announced herself as a messenger sent to declare the Emperor’s to a situation of passage – a possible one through a door and surrender. As the bearer and revealer of the secret, the courier an impossible one (except for ghosts) through a wall. Seen comes to embody the gravity and intensity of the experience through the eyes of Lacanian psychoanalysis, the veil, shield, of revelation. Accordingly Donnelly ended with the lines: ‘The screen or blade correspond to the phallus, an empty material Emperor has fallen, and he rests his weight upon your mind signifier of the threshold between the inside and outside of and mine. And with this I am electric. I am electric.’ At the the body, self and other, absence and presence. As such, it is opening of the Cologne show the horse appeared again, this the key to the mystery: the arcane knowledge that the secret time sans rider, shrouding the fate of the messenger in mystery. cannot be unveiled as the secret is the veil. Its sole function is By working through the physical rhetoric of opaque signs or to bestow meaning on the divide between the disclosed and the gestures by which the secret of occult experiences is invoked, yet undisclosed, and thereby to provide the symbolic frame for Donnelly delineates the existential concern of the practical rites of passage that stage the transition from the profane to the philosophy of anti-materialist materialism as the quest to transcendent as a ceremony of initiation or transgression, under create other ways to experience experience. In contemporary the sign of the phallus. consumer society exclusive experiences are a hot commodity In this light Donnelly’s video and live performances can be supplied by event agencies. An event today is ‘quality time’ seen as attempts to share the secret of the secret, without giving packaged as a product. In her work Donnelly challenges this it away. In the video Rio (2002), for instance, the artist’s face dominant logic, not through any idealistic pretensions but is profiled against the soft glow of a lamp as she lip-synchs by proposing a counter-materialism in the form of a physical the words to samba love songs on the soundtrack and moves language of the omen. The omen is an intense sensation of an her hands in a flurry of explanatory gestures in sign language. incomplete experience, as in all its intensity it only announces The video Untitled (Jump) (1998–9) shows her bouncing into the potential advent of the real event and thus reveals that it has the frame from a trampoline off-screen. At the apogee of each not yet happened and possibly never will. As they address you jump she throws a pose and mimics the facial expression of like omens, Donnelly’s works preclude you from consuming various rock stars – from Iggy Pop to Dionne Warwick – in experience in the event and instead make you experience the the climactic moment of their stage performance. In both un-consumable as the event. works Donnelly stages a pedagogy of ecstasy as she invokes the secret of the untranslatable experience of love and rapture Jan Verwoert is a contributing editor of frieze. September 2005 | frieze | 119 54TH CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL OCTOBER 9, 2004 - MARCH 20, 2005

BORN 1974, San Francisco, California Trisha Donnelly LIVES AND WORKS San Francisco There is an ambiguity in Trisha Donnelly’s work that serves to Trisha Donnelly received her MFA in 2000 harness our imagination. Her practice exists in a space a bit outside from the Yale University School of Art and her perceived limitations of the physical world where, for example, Napoleon’s BFA in 1995 from the University of California, declaration of surrender, tendered by the artist herself (in what she Los Angeles. She has had solo exhibitions at describes as “a courteous addition to the record”), can find its proper place Air de Paris Paris and Casey Kaplan, New York (both 2002). in the collective history of the world. Much like the story of the Golem, in which the written word “God” was powerful enough to conjure life out of Group exhibitions include: Baja to Vancouver, an inanimate clay form, for Donnelly, language in any manifestation– The West Coast in Contemporary Art, Seattle spoken, written, signed, or thought–has the capacity to conjure art in its Art Museum (2003 -2004, traveled to CCA Wattis concrete form. Yet even when wielding this power, she employs the Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, lightest touch possible; her interventions are sometimes barely visible, Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia, and but they are just enough to “slip into the back of people’s mind” and La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, implant suggestions that, the artist hopes, create “exponentially California, catalogue); Young Scene, Secession, Vienna (2003); Spectacular, The Art ofAction, different” forms in each person’s imagination. Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf (2003); Utopia Station, 50th Venice Biennale (2003, Donnelly is concerned primarily with the interrelationship of words, catalogue); If Happened Tomorrow, Biennale actions, thoughts, and images. She uses demonstrative action, written text d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (2003, and spoken word to invoke images and associations in the mind’s eye of catalogue); The Rebirth of Wonder, Los Angeles the viewer, or, alternately, works backward from an image itself, encouraging Contemporary Art Exhibitions (2003); The viewers to construct the storyline and context for themselves. In this Lengths, Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Annandale·on·Hudson, New York regard, Donnelly is an engineer of the imagination-her enterprise is filled (2003); A Little Bit of History Repeated, with wonderment at the tremendous power of the human mind to formulate Kunst-werke, Berlin (2002, catalogue); How ideas into existence and at the same time acknowledges the limits of Extraordinary That the World Exists, CCA Wallis language, in any guise, to fully contain our ideas and thoughts. Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2002, catatogue); Moving PIctures, Solomon In Night Is Coming (2002), the words of the title pulse in and out of view, R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002, traveled to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, catalogue); then disappear completely as a bright afterimage punctuate the cycle The Show That Will Show That a Show Is Not of perpetual imminence. The promised action is declared, then recedes, Only a Show, The Project, Los Angeles (2002); and in the end never arrives. A blatant truism, “night is coming” is a simple The Dedalac Convention, MAK Museum, Vienna statement, a reminder of the passing of time. Beyond that, the message (2001); I Love Dijon, Le Consortium, Dijon, is open and allusive (as well as elusive), and stubbornly unspecific. France (2001); Do It, Maryland Institute College The experience taps into our own contingent assumptions and circ*mstance of Art, Baltimore (2001, traveled to Addison to furnish meaning. Do we fear or welcome the night? When will it come? Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts, and Art Gallery of the University of Toronto, Does “night” really mean the night at all, or any number of symbolic among others, catalogue); and Echo, Artist’s connotations? Could Donnelly be making reference to the lyrics of Sonic Space, New York (2000). Youth’s “The Night Is Coming On,”with their whiff of suffering and fear? Or the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley (“The clash of the hail sweeps over SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY the plain / Night is coming!”), which bolsters our spirits in awe of nature? Higgs. Matthew. ‘Trisha Donnelly.’ Or perhap the biblical passage of John 9:4 (“ ... the night cometh, when no In Ralph Rugoff. ed. Baja to Vancouver. man can work”), which encourages us to do our good works before the day The West Coast in Contemporary Art Exhibition catalogue. New York: ends? The associations are as varied as viewers’ myriad referents. Distributed Art Publishers. 2004. 40. The Black Wave (2002) is a representation of an obscure phenomenon, Hoffman. Jens. ‘Trisha Donnelly.’ and like all legends, the differentiation of fact from unsubstantiated lore is Flash Art 34. no. 223 (March-April 2002); 97. largely immaterial and untraceable. By manipulating a photograph of a generic wave, Donnelly was able to create something that exists only Miller. John. ‘Openings: Trisha Donnelly.’ in myth. There is no intended trickery here; rather, The Black Wave is an Artforum 50. no. 10 (Summer 2002): 164-65. attempt at the visualization of a pure idea. It exists because the artist made Spectacular. The Art of Action. it exist, because the idea is, for Donnelly, as concrete as the phenomenon Exhibition catalogue. Dusseldorf: itself. As she has stated, “I think there’s nothing more powerful than Museum Kunst Palast. 2003. people thinking something into existence.”-Elizabeth Thomas

Spector. Nancy. ‘Trisha Donnelly.’ In Cream 3. London: Phaidon Press. 2003. 120-23. I still believe in miracles* Part 2/2 Derrière l’horizon

19 May 19 June 2005

ARC (Musee dArt moderne de la Ville de Paris) Couvent des Cordeliers 15 rue de lÉcole de Médecine, 75006 Paris

Dessins sans papier* has revealed a renewed interest in drawing of artists on both the national and the international scene, presenting wall drawings and animated films. Derrière l’horizon gives prominence to yet another major trend char- acterised by its longing for another dimension, and its desire to bring out the marvellous and the bizarre concealed in the very heart of reality.

Some of the artists test our sensorial and cognitive perception sometimes playing with uncertainty and imperfection. The reality comes out distorted, blurred, even violated. The ellipsis, the transience, the indiscernible become the vectors of displacement poetics. Casting doubt on our ability to recognize brings us out to the frontiers of parallel worlds.

The works selected for Derrière l’horizon cut across a variety of art mediums such as drawing, photography, performance, installation, and video.

Bidding us welcome to the exhibition, Davide Balula places at our disposal a ready-made washbasin of the type used in nuclear power stations. Rinse your eyes behind, a decontamination airlock, prepares us to enter into a new dimension. A little further, the artist presents Un air de fête which shows a balloon attached to the arm of a record-player, and prompts a deceptive Duchamp-style reading of the object. Trisha Donnelly plays with deferred and hidden apparitions. Defying the exhibits rules and time codes, she intervenes in invisible places, and at inaudible moments (stepping in on the opening evening, playing a soundtrack after closing). She introduces an evanescent work entitled The passenger, an evoluting se- ries of drawings for eleven days. The Magics lanterns of Adam Putnam, sets of flickering lights, generate spaces haunted by the void, and evoke ancestral rituals and magic.

In weightless conditions, in a space unbounded and radically transformed, Tomas Saraceno introduces us into an architectural utopia of a new sort. In Lighter than air architecture and art, a polygonal structure in levitation, he uses new materials, and suggests the existence of a feasible ecology (in the tradition of Buckminster Fuller and Yona Friedman). In a series of four successive photographs Jean Louis Elzéard captures the menacing and unstable temperament of the sky. His work makes us lose ground and it succeeds in displaying the insurmountable antagonism between the earth and the skies.

A new reality bursts up unexpectedly as the artists transmute the protocols of the exploration process obsessively, the duo Laurent Tixador & Abraham Poincheval pushes back the boundaries of art in Plus loin derrière l’horizon. The two artists make it a rule to survive in extreme living conditions, going on odd, and at times absurd expedi- tions (from the city of Caen to the city of Metz, to the Frioul island, to the North Pole). These journeys are documented by films and trophies. They abide for the time of the exhibition by a sedentary way of life in the Périgord region, and invite the public to drop in.

Ancient and modern mythology in its multiple formats narrations, films, television series is the element many artists draw on when they deconstruct the clichés of the supernatural, of the inexplicable, even of horror.

Markus Schinwalds Childrens crusade is inspired by the 13th century Jerusalem Children crusade and the Germanic legend of Hamelin, the flautist. He takes up the scene in which the children, hypnotised, follow an articulated marionette, symbol of their alienation, intermingling dissimilar epochs and leaving a narrative pending.

The world of storytelling turns into an extremely contemporary aesthetic in Cao Feis films.The artist has been inspired by experimental cinema, Hong Kong cinema, advertising, and video games. Her most recent production, Cosplayers, shows disguised superheroes mangas in a changing urban environment.

The imaginary can lead into dark inner worlds, to the boundaries of irrationality and madness.

Angelika Markuls films feature animals placed in abnormal and cathartic situations. With modest means, but quite obsti- nately, the artist turns her models into disturbing installations. In a similar manner, Gabríela Fridriksdóttirs drawings and films create mutants, both eye-catching and repulsive (such as elves, monsters, and the like). Her collaboration with Björk reveals her prolific creativity anchored in Icelandic imaginary.

A program gather films by different artists in a same projection.Ana María Milláns short films embody the idea of delirium and terror. Influenced by Columbian horror films and the aesthetic of telenovelas, Ana María Milláns works reflects the intrinsic urban violence. Likewise, Laurent Montarons narratives weave together nightmares, visions, and quite com- monplace experiences, unveiling paranormal situations. Ulla von Brandenburgs films mix tarot and circus characters.At first sight,Ulla von Brandenburgs Tableaux vivants resemble to photographic images. Introducing a different vision of reality, Kan Xuan create oeiniric and harrowing worlds while Jordan Wolfson uses distortion and slow-motion to produce altered, science fiction images.

The works exhibited fit into a scenography designed by Rirkrit Tiravanija for his own retrospective - in giving birth to memory sedimentation.

Displacements, ambiguities, anachronisms, metalanguages fuse to generate a dreamlike reality, a reality concealed... plus loin derrière l’horizon.

* The title is taken from a work by Douglas Gordon (2005) The exbition had the support of Embassy of Colombie. ______Curator: Laurence Bossé, Anne Dressen, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Angéline Scherf Catalogue of the exhibition I still believe in miracles part 2/2 Derrière l’horizon, 112p., n° ISBN: 2-87900-908-1 I still believe in miracles part 1/2 Dessins sans papier, 88p., n° ISBN: 2-87 900-907-3 Afterall Where some imagine that there is only one Trisha Donnelly, I know there are at least four. One is surely a biological entity, and another a projected image, like the one who acts out the codeless semaphore of Canadian Rain (2002). A third, a literary invention of the first, sometimes appears in her place in the vicinity of the art world. A fourth is a malleable figure, co-authored by the third, and anyone who tells her story. (There may be more: one who can travel through time, another who can speak in the tongue of seals, and so on.) The following essay surveys some of Donnelly’s recent practices in this light, including a lecture at the Frieze Art Fair in London in October 2004, an exhibition at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York, summer 2004, and one of the works included in the 54th Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh, winter 2004/05.


‘Where is Adventure? What is Culture?’ was the last of six panel discussions held on the occasion of the 2004 Frieze Art Fair,1 chaired by curator and

1. artist Matthew Higgs, the panel included Christian Jankowski, David Robbins, This discussion was Nancy Spector and Trisha Donnelly. These names already suggest that the held on 17 October event was not intended to be your average discussion: each respondent’s answer 2004, at the Frieze Art Fair’s pavil- to the title’s pair of impossible questions was to be bent into mute and funny lion in Regent’s shapes. Jankowski improvised his replies on an electric guitar instead of talking; Park, London, and was broadcast live Spector discussed the accidental transformation of an artist’s exhibition on Resonance 104.4 into a credit-card advertisem*nt. FM Trisha Donnelly answered ‘Where is Adventure? What is Culture?’ by recounting an episode from the convoluted history of Russia around the turn of the 17th Century, which centered on a man who claimed to be Dmitry Ivanovitch II, the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible and the rightful heir to the Russian throne. She then played a short section of a British radio program about people returning in their old age to the bungalows their parents had built, which segued into a passage of a song called The Green Grass Starts To Grow. ‘Listen really carefully,’ she said over the song’s opening notes, ‘and I want you to think about the song. I don’t want you to enjoy it.’ A quick set of evocative, seemingly disconnected images was offered to the audience, and her talk was done. Only later did her presentation’s odd details appear to ravel together, slowly, into a tentative cloth of meaning. Each section was about land, filiation, death and rebirth. A Polish pretender to the throne of Russia is shot in the snow, cut to pieces, burned to a powder and then shot from a cannon back to his motherland. ‘We used to kill the goats off,’ an old woman says next, ‘and we used to eat them.’ Dionne Warwick then sings a different reply, words written by Burt Bacharach: ‘A summer breeze becomes a winter storm... and then the weather turns warm...’. Asked, during the questions that followed, ‘What do you think you are accurate about?’, Donnelly replied, ‘I found out recently that I have less vision

Trisha Donnelly | 91 Afterall in my right eye, so it turns out I’m a very perfect archery shot’. Her pronounce- ment played off the panel’s gnomic subtitle: ‘A discussion of the relationship of art to entertainment, touching on the comedic, being popular and failing miserably’. The blurrier her vision, she seemed to say, the sharper her aim and the truer her shot. The more miserable her failure, the greater became her success. Disgraced by his enemies, murdered, the false Dmitry still returns triumphantly as a ball of light a glorious blaze.


Each image flashes past, representing, I am told, one facet of a prism. Three drizzles of red acrylic drip sideways to form the letter ‘E’ (E, 2004: it stands for ‘Egypt’, whose imagined landscape serves as one structuring conceit of the show); The Slowness (2004) is an abstract waterfall that gives birth to a stylised letter ‘N’, its vertical bars extending to the edge of the paper. Another is a banner that reads, in awkward lettering, ‘th PSNGR’. which is ‘The Passenger’ less its vowels (The Passenger, 2004). A fourth, untitled work appears (Untitled, 2004), a meticulously drawn thing that looks to be a rotting saddle, or crumpled metal wreckage. ‘How is it attached?’, I ask, fishing for clues. It’s pinned, I am informed, for if it were framed the drawing would not be able to go through the wall. During the opening, I learn, Donnelly would lead members of the audience around to the office on the wall’s other side, where the drawing continued on a second piece of paper, a pale-blue outline of the first work’s modeled abstraction. Another pencil sketch (The Volume, 2004) depicts concentric circles on a cream paper rectangle, one tentatively drawn ring inside the bounds of a thicker circle, demarcated by tiny notches around its perimeter. This one is figurative, a picture of a massive volume mob for the ‘sound’ of the exhibition; it envisions these drawings not as discrete works, but material indices of the sound Donnelly was making as she was creating them. The pencil is imagined as a noisemaker, another kind of instrument. Two photographs from 2002 appear among the more recent works: Egypt (2004), whose murk depicts a shadowed set of figurines, and Hand That Holds The Desert Down (2002), a silver gelatin print of the right hind leg and upswept tail of the Sphinx. (Donnelly’s title inverts a joke the artist has cited by comedian Steven Wright: ‘I levitate birds but no one seems to notice.’) Other works incorporate unobtrusive changes over the course of their display. The Redwood and the Raven (2004) is a group of thirty-one unique photographs of a dancer taken in the forests of northern California, one mounted each day of the show; another drawing, abstract blue panels inside a ‘thought balloon’, has a paper caption on some days and not others. There are shorter cycles as well: a twenty - minute video loop of shivering circles that bookend the writ- ten name ‘Frances’ (she’s the one in The Redwood... ) and a recorded piece, Oh Egypt (2004), which sounds periodically over the duration of the day. Displayed together. these rhythmic cycles interlock to ensure that each viewer’s encounter with her works is shaded slightly differently. The dancer’s position has changed;

the untitled drawing is given a handwritten caption (‘Matthew’, it reads); and 2. this time the voice never sounds, her voice, that sings, ‘ .... Oh! Egypt!’. The DJ Nicholas Trembley, ‘Supersize Spress’, was playing so loud that eveything else was drowned out. ‘Might as well stop the piece and, 2 get a drink,’ she declared. 2005, http://www. The ensemble of works I’ve just described were exhibited together at Don- id=9141. nelly’s 2004 exhibition at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York City, and incor- porated what the artist calls ‘a demonstration’ on the event of its opening. The 3. artist played a song that she claimed would stop time, and then led the assem- Bruce Hainley, bled crowd up 10th Street to Maurizio Cattelan’s Wrong Gallery - which is ‘The Consen- sus Thief’, New just a doorway. From behind the door came the sound of a cannon, loud enough York Times Style to shake the door, which signaled that time had started again. This demonstra- Magazine, 29 August tion, like all those before it, was not recorded or documented in anyway, being 2004, pp. 276-77. transmitted to a larger public, if at all, by verbal description, or word of mouth. Trisha Donnelly | 92 Afterall The Passenger, pencil on paper, This has a few important effects. First, the demonstration stakes much on 269.2 cm x the singularity of the individual’s experience of the work, which is understood 2004 to be both speciflc and essentially irreproducible. ‘You had to be there’, sings a chorus of critics. Here her practice takes a Protestant tone, with the docu- ment as a false idol. (This tone may be implicit as well in her ‘small scale, care- 4 John Miller with ful production, [and] ruthlessly winnowed output’, as well as the peculiar literal- Nancy Spector, ism sometimes evident in the names of her work: if it looks like a volume knob, ‘Waterloo’, Kolnischer 3 Kunstverein (press), that’s because it is one. ) A second, connected effect is a mood of confidential- 2005. ity, where the audience is enlisted into the ritual production of the work. This persists even in the smallest instances of Donnelly’s practice. Bob Nickas has a recorded monologue by Donnelly, but one of its conditions is that the curator must invite people to listen to it one-on-one; when her recordings, meant 5 See George Baker, to be played only in a gallery space, were played privately for me, they were ‘Fraser’s Form’, Andrea prefaced by a conspiratorial warning: ‘I’m not supposed to do this, but I will, Fraser: Works: 1984- 4 2003, Kunstverein in this case’. Her audience cannot depend on their anonymity, for these im Hamburg, 2004, works, like some of Andrea Fraser’s recent practices, reject surrogacy, middle- pp.50-77. men and safe distances Donnelly’s reliance on oral transmission means that to speak of the work is to join in, to agree to the terms of its ritual magic. Retelling plays on the inevitable gaps in memory, on distortions, brags and 6 exaggeration, and on the distance between experience and narration, which Joseph Leo Koerner, is the space of fiction. The framing and describing of an exhibition are put The Reformation of the Image, Chicago: to work in the service of art practice. University of Chicago This constellation of events and artifacts gains its mystique by acts of Press, 2003, pp.11-13. strategic removal, a linguistic/sculptural cutting-away. ‘The Passenger’ becomes ‘PSNGR’, ‘Ride into Darkness’ is rendered ‘RIDR’. The reduced means of iconoclasm may collapse upon themselves; ritual magic may become modernist 7 poetry; we may discover that ‘there never were, nor will there ever be, idols, J. Miller, op. cit since these are artefacts of the iconoclast’s conviction, the imaginary Other 6 of all critical campaigns’. Donnelly’s practice is magical in that, in the words of Nancy Spector, it ‘seeks to transform experience and alter reality with little more than an incantation or visual talisman’. Nevertheless her talismanic 8 T.S. Eliot, ‘The ‘demonstrations’ both admit and question their mystique. Following Donnelly’s Function of Criticism’, former teacher John Miller, ‘there’s something shabby in the act that undercuts Selected Essays, 7 New York: Harcourt, the mythification - a productive shabbiness’. There are objects, crafted Brace and Company, things in real space, like any others. Yet while the Holy Spirit is never seen, 1950, p.2l. it is nonetheless dramatically present...

III. PULLING PARTS OF THE BODY FROM ITS POCKETS 9 Elizabeth Thomas, Trisha Donnelly’s work is about structures of belief. At least that is what I am ‘Trisha Donnelly’, 54th Carnegie given to believe. I fear I’ve been fed lines. Even so, I will repeat them. At least International (press), the words sound different as they come out of my mouth. The risk of criticism 9 October 2004. is invention, and fact is hard to master; ‘interpretation is always pulling parts of the body from its pockets, and fixing them in place.’8 But does her work not invite such projection? Does it not slip into the 10 back of people’s minds, to create ‘exponentially different forms in each person’s See Nicolas Bourriaud, imagination’? 9 There may be the beginnings of a disagreement in the public Relational Aesthetics. Paris: Les Presses discussion of this aspect of her work. Nancy Spector has described Donnelly’s du reel, 2002 (1998), practice as an ‘art of non-sequiturs’, and the threads that connect her objects p.16j and Hal Foster, IAn Archival Impulse’, and installations as the products of a logic ‘entirely her own’. In other accounts Octob.M, no.11O, Fall their impact ‘only unfolds within the visitor himself’; the work, it is said, ‘taps 2004, pp.21-22. into our own contingent assumptions and circ*mstances to furnish meaning’. It may simply be that Donnelly addresses her audience in a way unfamiliar to those whose aesthetic receptors have been dulled by relational aesthetics overleaf on the one hand and archival collections on the other. She neither intends to The Black Wave, open a participatory, social ‘interstice’ where ‘meaning is asserted collectively’, silver gelatin print, 10 127cm x 152.4cm, 2002 nor to create ‘perverse orders that aim to disturb the symbolic order at large’. One way to explain the queer public-private tenor described above is to say that artworks such as the Hand That Holds The Desert Down, or Black Wave

Trisha Donnelly | 95 Afterall (2002) perform as allegories; they ‘simultaneously proffer and defer a promise of meaning: they both solicit and frustrate our desire that image be transparent The Volume, pencil on to its signification’. As a result, they appear strangely incomplete - fragments paper, 91.4 x 60.9cm, 2004 or runes which must be deciphered.1 The work seems to change colour under the eyes of those who aim to fix it; like allegory it contains strange opacities, 11 reflexes, turnabouts in logic. Regardless ‘we must ourselves decide what is Craig Owens, ‘The Al- useful to us and what is not; it is quite likely that we are not competent to legrical Impulse: Toward 12 a Theory of Postmodern- decide.’ ism’, in Barbara Kruger, IV. A TIGER’S LEAP INTO THE PAST et al. (ed.) Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power In his landmark discussion of allegory Craig Owens wrote that the allegorical and Culture, Berkely: mode had flourished in post-revolutionary France, when painting was enlisted University of California Press, 1992, p.5.5 to produce images of the present in terms of the classical past. It did so by condensing narrative into a ‘single, emblematic instant ... in which the past, 12 present and future, that is, this historical meaning, of the depicted action might T.S.Eliot, op. cit., be read.’ 13 He quoted Walter Benjamin: ‘Thus to Robespierre ancient Rome p.20 was a past charged with the time of the now, which blasted out of the continu- 14 um of history.... It is a tiger’s leap into the past.’ 13 Donnelly’s demonstrations often make some such leap, though her tiger’s C.Owens, op.cit., p.58. leap multiplies its classical pasts, which embrace ancient Rome and Egypt, False Dmitry, Montgomery Clift, Debbie Harry, David Lee Roth and Napoleon. 14 How should we connect the dots between this crew of sympathetic dictators, Ibid., p.59. unsuccessful solo artists, autodidacts, sainted messes and sexual double 15 15 agents? Donnelly seems drawn to their radical self-invention, as well as to The last two are bor- their sometimes fatal humanity; through the mirror of her practice their fail- rowed from David Thom- ures become ecstatic, world-creating events. The mind is its own place, and in it self son’s evocative descrip- tion of Montgomery Clift can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n. in The New Biographical The opening of her first exhibition at Casey Kaplan in 2002 was the scene Dictionary of Film, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, of one such transformation. The artist appeared on a white stallion, dressed 2004, p. 168. as Napoleon’s courier (an oft told story, this, now in a kind of rhetorical drift

or ruin). The text she read seems to be a matter of record (or was some intrepid 16 soul’s jotting simply repeated in latex versions?). ‘Be still and hear me,’ she be- ‘...ament meminisse gan. ‘I am a courier. I am only a courier. But I come with news of destruction. I periti’, Jacques-Louis David’s epigraph for his come to declare his end. If it need be termed surrender then let it be so, for he publication “Le Tab- has surrendered in word, not will. He has said, “My fall will be great but at least leau des Sabines expose publiquement au Palais useful.” The Emperor has fallen and he rests his weight upon your mind and National des science mine. And with this I am electric. I am electric.’ This single, emblematic in- et des arts, sale de la ci-devant academie stant tells an entire story; it tells of Napoleon’s dream of the imperial Republic, d’architecture: Par le his authority and pride, and his final flight from the disaster at La Belle Alli- Citoyen David...’, as ance. cited in Ewa Lajer-Bur- charth ‘The Revolution Another such leap occurs in Letter to Tacitus (2004), a five-minute oration Glacee’, in Necklines: reciled daily at the 54th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. Picture a well- The Art of Jacques-Loius David after the Ter- dressed man circling the Carnegie’s Romanesque atrium (surrounded, if you ror, New Haven, CT: Yale will, by a pack of people with digital cameras). From a sheet held firmly in University Press, 1999, both hands, he recites the text of a letter written to Cornelius Tacitus, senator, p. 130 consul and great historian of ancient Rome. This correspondent replies to Tacitus’s description, in a previous letter, of an ideal imperial republic. ‘That dream,’ he returns, ‘is not a map to your earthly paradise. It is instead a death of straightened pain and demand. A blank space.’ Hather, the writer argues, it is Tacitus’ desire for this just and true state that matters, that is his salvation: ‘For the true Rome is the fire above dark water. The true Rome is man’s hope for the true Rome.’ The reverberations of the great hall swallow his words. False Dmitry stands in the wings, on legs of different lengths. Just who is this retinue of failed dreamers, couriers and impostors? What purchase do they have on the present, or the future? What should we make of their self-invention and lordliness, their imperial ambition, their vision of polity and their final immolation? History paintings sit still, frozen, waiting for their recursive fragments to be pieced together in the present, to be enjoyed by those who are able to remember, whereas these tableaux live and breathe.16 Later, let’s tell stories about them. Trisha Donnelly | 98 Hudson (Show)Room

Trisha Donnelly San Francisco, CA

April 28–July 17, 2005

about the artist

San Francisco-based Trisha Donnelly’s enigmatic drawings, photographs, videos, sound works, and performative demonstrations resist normative perceptions of The hand that holds the desert down, 2002 the world. Often perplexing, the works reflect an ethereal outlook in which sound Silver gelatin print and visual expression are not confined to disparate realms but join forces to affect 5 x 7 inches experience.

The potency of Donnelly’s projects comes from this oscillation. Whether sketching the aural sensation of a beating drum, suggesting that human hand signals can create rain miles away, or asking an audience to close their eyes and listen to “the sound that stops time,” the pieces drift in and out of grasp. Riding alongside the quotidian, they make visible currents that often go unnoticed.

Like the poetry of John Ashbery that she admires, the artist’s works intoxicate by pivoting between exquisite representations of the everyday and complex inscrip- tions of other dimensions. The projects confidently resist questioning—drawings simply do extend through walls and musical notes have corporeal presence.

Donnelly’s artworks heighten awareness of the immaterial and articulate the won- der of what is. Instead of engaging in a dialogue about belief, her poetic projects dip into romanticism and test assumptions to expose myths about existence and the power and possibilities of art.

about the exhibition

When isolated, Trisha Donnelly’s economical gestures seem veiled in code like the spare lines of a poem. However, considered together in this, the artist’s first solo institutional show, past and present works from the last several years build a lay- ered argument for the importance of sound and time. The projects urge the viewer to surrender to the ephemeral’s role in how we pass through life.

The notion of journey is introduced by Passenger, which spells out “tH PSNGR” in graphite on paper nine feet tall. Insistent, the piece’s graceful monumentality does The Passenger, 2004 not ask us to come along but describes circ*mstances as they are. We are always Pencil on paper on the move and constantly in the path of new discoveries. 106 x 41-1/2 inches Untitled* (*title is audio) hints at what might be found along the way. Pinned to the wall are twelve slightly different thirty-inch drawings of a hollow cylinder. This flip- book strategy infuses a banal object with the real-time phenomenon of perception and conjures the multi-faceted process of seeing. Increasing the sense of poten- tial in the everyday, viewers who ask for the drawing’s title are played a CD. The thump thump of a drumbeat not only focuses attention on the frequency of life’s encounters but also ceremonializes the act of looking.

The physicality of sound is further explored in The Shield, a one hour audio loop emitted by speakers on either side of the gallery that create a boundary. The threshold made by the synthetic noise panning from floor to ceiling is unques- tioned; choosing to cross is ignoring the breadth of what is there.

The Black Wave, 2002 Untitled, an eight-foot tall E written in blood-red enamel, invokes the immaterial Silver gelatin print through ancient Egypt, a culture wherein earthly elements supported a dynamism 50 x 60 inches dismissed today. This piece abstractly conjures this now-mystical way of under- standing, while other works in the exhibition do so with the snapshot. Hand that holds the desert down is a five-inch silver gelatin print of the eroding sphinx built to protect pharaohs entombed nearby in the desert outside of Cairo. The slight image functions as a portal from the rationality of the 21st century to the otherworldly no- tions of Mesopotamia.

A commitment to re-awakening such energy is articulated in the two-part Untitled. On one side of a wall is a pencil drawing of a tightly knit mass of space resembling a dark, body-less cloak. Available upon request is a view around the corner. There hangs a complimentary image—the same shape made convex, lighter, and cast in a kinetic blue. This is what a drawing looks like after it passes through the barrier that seems to stop it.

Trisha Donnelly’s works poetically collapse the mundane and the complex. If one succumbs to seeing the world as her pieces suggest, surroundings expand into a wondrous mix of images, sound, and time that yield infinitely new sensations. As revealed by Volume, a three-foot tall sheet of white paper punctuated by a simple pencil drawing of a knob, choosing to perceive (not believe) is liberating. With this handle we can each adjust the vigor of the show and temper our understanding of life.

-Kate Green, Canadian Rain, 2002 5 minute loop on DVD Assistant Curator

© 2005 Artpace San Antonio Afterall Her Artillery –Bruce Hainley

Swords, shields and cannon fire: for Trisha Donnelly art is more than reveille. The battle began a long time ago, before she was born. It continues long after whatever the little word after means has fallen into disuse. Drawings, video, the deplyment of photographs not as pictures, actions- it would be best to consider it all, if not sculpture, sculptural; the interrogation of space (mental, physical, emotional) and it’s electric conquest and resistence-these are demonstrations of her tactical knowledge. Recently Karl Lagerfeld said he woke up one morning with an image of a long line of women in black, a kind of l’armee des ombres. yes an army of night. Glam- our apocalypso. In the corps there are only various privates. What may at first have looked like privacies, girl jumping for joy, or love singing singeing signing its tropicalia - and all of that it would be extremely well to do, even though the days were coming when the sun should be as darkness and the moon as blood-this was not what it was, or only what it was, but a call to arms to figure out video before moving on to figure out The D from W, something else (not that it’s ever concluded, conclusive). The technology c-print, 30 x 20cm allowed her to slow time and pinpoint the ecstasy of the performer’s climax, 2005 what hurls him or her out of themselves, out of the human. It allowed her to translate place and the idea of place, and elsewhere we often remain deaf to, into a language mistaken for love, instead of the seduction of the medium and its machinery. The human is just one of the aesthetic’s effects. Given a sunset and a beautiful girl too many will believe anything rather than the fact that a medium is being taken apart before their very eyes, and taking them with it. There’s a picture in black and white of Donnelly as a warrior. Can’t see the head, can’t see the feet, can’t tell if it’s just a masque of masculin- ity or an actual dude - he’s going on memory here - but I’d swear it is her, a sword in each hand. You know the look. A nimbus surrounds him, her. It’s the radioactivity, it’s the sublimity: The D from W (2005). A warrior always ready for action draws the sword, and the gesture, radioactive, continues forever, slicing through eternity, half-life by half-life. The distance from war is never very far. Every breath is one for live over death, but approaching the inevitable, nonetheless, the debt from wonder. She arrived as a messenger on horseback to announce a surrender, but it was not hers. Still some would turn her into a Cassandra, wishing only to see ro- mantic neo-conceptual dreaminess or, worse, the occult. Ostriches! They bury their heads in the sand of the beach that Bas Jan Ader shoved off from in search of the miraculous. Of his bones are coral made, those are pearls that were his eyes, nothing of him that doth fade but doth suffer a sea change into something rich and strange. Most forget the adder’s poison; forget the suffering, some of it staged, a scene changed. Most forego the strangeness by relegating it to a box ticked ‘magick’. Anything to forego the decompositon, an art that doth decompose. Ader was never conceptual art-lite, but, like many of his peers, dared to expand art’s possibilities: telepathy, sunburns, radiowaves, astrology, ESP, weed and trips into the unknown, beyond. What- ever, it got called ‘conceptual’, not ‘witchy’ or ‘esoteric’. (Is the trigger wire for these different adjectives.

Trisha Donnelly | 101 Afterall activation genders?) By attitude, temperment and look when he with sly The Redwood and the Raven, 31 gelatin tears, when he like Gilles in black cords, when he with careful attention and silver prints, one print attenuation seemed to put his finger in irony’s dike, he knew it couldn’t be exhibited each day, left there forever. Ader was questioning, frequently though repeating the 17.7cm x 12.7cm, 2004 ‘same’ piece in different media, his own place in dutch art history - fallen from grace, falling off his bike into a river, out of the tree of knowledge, over Niagra Falls from an armchair- as well as his and object’s inheritance and inherency. He who lies full fathom five is not her father. But oh the terible work that has been tolerated in the name of Ader, ‘made’ (I used the term loosley)by those satisfied with the LCD of paranormal schmalz. Donnelly participates in none of this. Early on she claimed Nina Simone was her mother. Her name is Peaches. Peaches pulls the finger from the dike. Let the flood sweep LCD away. Peaches takes a drawing and tears it into two parts, pins one part to the wall, resigns the ‘missing’part to absence, mailing it to someone, anybody’s guess, never to be reunited. It is a way of asking what remains of drawing, the medium, torn to pieces. Is the drawing complete? Is any draw- ing - anything - ever complete? Is the drawing more the part pinned to the wall or its elusive Other? It bothers; it should, since there’s usually too much sublimation of the violence of representation. Donnelly has confronted Sturtevant’s drawing connections, slicing and dicing into the interior imme- diacy of contemporaneity, its exquisite corpse; she’s seen the use of deface- ment as autobiography. Asking what remains, Donnelly is tryng to find out what a drawing is and what could be - other than luxury items people buy when they can’t quite commit to a painting. Do you know what a drawing is, what it can do? It can become ‘photographic’ or performative’, by which I mean active, atomic, atomising through a wall, leaving a blue auratic outline, call it Kirlian or call it the moisture transferred from the subject to the emul- sion surface of the photograph causing an alternation of the electric - charge pattern on the film. Call it a draw between absence and presence, touching

the nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. It can destroy not only painting.

104 | Afterall drammings of blindness. x . Donnelly kills her dinner with karate, kicks it in the face, tastes the kicks it in the face, her dinner with karate, Donnelly kills Night is coming; it may already be here. ‘There is something of death Night is coming; it may temps mort (donne) and it is what she sublimes. Her name contains the given body. solarity grammar of ice and air and A page. This is a disambiguation In Kolin - in Die Brucke - she provided a rhetoric of her elements. to organise a long by taking away transparency and constructing conjunction, a bridge, anything, allowing one to see through something, wall to interrupt the glass how they gird It conjoined the seen with what cannot be seen, too quickly. holding the room with its m.issing. like the drawing torn to pieces one another, R Condition: oversight. The tearing, the removal, loss mailed to the Other, the morning taken, the to the Other, the removal, loss mailed The tearing, this has nothing the corridor of the institute: the future blowing in the wind of Carson Anne documentary. It is the invisible, with invisibility. to do with Full Full of danger. technique.’ ‘the Sublime is a documentary has written, of on a leash. Its sound is ominous and Egyptian. in it. She walks oblivion and a single one but no less affective, effect untranslatable, just a special grain, from disappeating of its paws keeps the desert, grain by whorled into thin air.

Afterall e 83 g

November 3 - 9, 2004 the villa Voice Good artists, bad shows: Can difficult art sidestep the tricky Vito Acconci syndrome? Thinking Outside the Box by Jerry Saltz Trisha Donnelly to embed them in material. As floored as I was by Casey Kaplan Gallery her performance, Donnelly’s debut suggested she 416 West 14th Street lacked this crucial ability. Through November 13 Yet I loved her work, or at least the essence of it. At first I thought I was just being a sap, that her At around seven o’clock on the night of April 5, art had exposed a soft spot in my taste. Now I see 2002, Trisha Donnelly stole my aesthetic heart. Donnelly as a member of a rarefied group of thor- That evening, the then 28-year-old artist rode into oughbred artists who, while good, don’t mount her debut at the Casey Kaplan Gallery, outfitted good gallery shows. Call this the Vito Acconci syn- like a Napoleonic soldier and astride a white stal- drome. It may be that for these artists the conven- lion. The opening came to a standstill as the small tion of the solo exhibition is a diversion, or that the crowd stared in stunned silence at this apparition. white cube is too small in scope to command their Donnelly-whose bearing was regal, unruffled, but interest. To them, gallery exhibitions are a kind of Is that all there is? The Trisha Donnelly installation at Casey Kaplan Photo by Robin Holland edgy-halted, surveyed the room, unfurled a scroll, standardized ritual—artificial, totalitarian occasions and recited a brief, ornately worded proclamation that try to fit too much into too neutralizing a form. that began, “If it need be termed surrender, then let In fact, Casey Kaplan represents several of these can trust, a generous artist capable of taking you it be so, for he has surrendered in word, not deed.” artists, including Ceal Foyer, Carsten Höller (whose to an amorphous, inexpressible place past the She finished, declaiming, “The emperor has fallen work is close in spirit to Donnelly’s), and Liam Gil- conventions of late-conceptual art, the inanities and he rests his weight upon your mind and mine, lick, whose shows are weak but who often shines of pseudo-mysticism, and her own inherent corni- and with this I am electric. I am electric.” Then she outside galleries. Jorge Pardo fits in here as well, ness. Writing about Jasper Johns in 1966, John turned and rode back into the New York night. By as does one of the best artists working anywhere Cage referred to “the thick presence all at once of then, I was electric too. I didn’t know what this today, Maurizio Cattelan, whose New York exhibi- a naked self-obscuring body of history.” That’s the message meant, but felt that I had witnessed a tions aren’t as dazzling as his showstopping, site- type of history and presence Donnelly occasionally historical event that never took place but should specific works and his biennial contributions. presents. In the same text, Cage added that it’s “a have-one steeped in fiction, poetry, and witchcraft, As for Donnelly’s current show, it’s more obscure waste of time to mutter about inscrutability.” Simi- one that addressed the passing of epochs. In the and hippie-esque than her first. Among the 16 larly, if understanding is what you’re after, Donnelly afterglow, I realized that two years before, in the works are a handful of beautiful pencil drawings, is the wrong artist for you. She still doesn’t em- same spot, I’d had a premonition about Donnelly an audio piece of someone chanting “Oh Egypt,” a bed thought in materials. But she is finding ways as I watched her give a lecture on communicating postcard of the Sphinx’s paw, and digital photos of to embed them in you. This is enchanting. If you with seals at a group show opening. I remember hanging swords. If I had to suggest an overarch- get on her wavelength, you can have moments of thinking, “This artist is a believer. I should pay at- ing theme, I’d say it was the search for a higher, wistful lucidity, the feeling that you’ve actually lived tention.” imagined astral plane. But who knows? Even that’s the experiences she makes art about. Laura Hopt- Despite that alluring, paranormal performance, a stretch. Donnelly did perform a moody, bluesy man, who put her in the current Carnegie Interna- Donnelly’s debut was difficult, sparse, and hard to song about “stopping time” at the opening, after tional (where Donnelly, having told no one, acted parse. It included a video of her performing what which she led the large crowd a few blocks north as a waiter at the show’s tony opening dinner), was supposedly a rainmaking rite in a Canadian to the Wrong Gallery, where she arranged to have says that “empathy, a deep sense of our collec- forest, a sound piece involving a howling wolf and a cannon sound “to start time again.” But I won’t tive humanity—our transcendent ideas as well as an ominous photograph of a black wave. Don- invoke the haughty “you had to be there” defense. our frailties—are her greatest artistic weapons.” nelly was full of fetching ideas, but her individual Ultimately, I suspect this show won’t captivate To that, and in support of Donnelly and all those objects and the show itself were fairly forgettable. anyone who isn’t captivated by Donnelly already. otherwise inscrutable artists, I’d add, long live dif- This usually spells doom for an artist. After all, ev- Indeed, I hesitate to even recommend it. I only ficult art. eryone has good ideas; only select artists are able want to say that this is an artist who I think you THE NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE August 29, 2004

The INConsensus ART AS IN FASHION, IT’S BETTER TOThief LEAD THAN TO FOLLOW. BRUCE HAINLEY PREVIEWS THE CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL. O.K., before the art stuff, a little bow to Diana Vreeland -- she of the Kabuki litter, purchasing what he called, with almost Vreelandian flourish, the “old masters rouging, knowing beak and shellac-black hair, who insisted that the soles of her of tomorrow.’’ (Carnegie set the exhibition’s collecting standards high, scoring the shoes gleam -- because I think about her, well, frequently, especially when perus- first Whistler for an American museum.) ing culture magazines at a newsstand. D.V. led rather than followed, and I’m so Although the show has taken many forms since its inception, the art eyes of tired (aren’t you?) of opening the pages of glossies and seeing articles on what’s Pittsburgh still focus on the future in terms of up-and-coming artists -- and cura- already happening -- synergistic tie-ins -- rather than on what should be going on. tors. In the last 20 years, only one curator of the Carnegie International has hung Ego ideal, my dream D.V. reigns, sibyl of the untimely, the unlikely: she doesn’t around long enough to do the show twice, making unlikely Pittsburgh one of the tow party lines. Can’t you hear her, chic in a Mainbocher suit, channeling heavenly prime curatorial starting points. (The International’s last curator, Madeleine Gryn- edicts? “Why don’t you donate all your John Currins to the local Braille institute? sztejn, is now the senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco The blind need something to look at when they’re not busy reading.’’ Museum of Modern Art.) Enter Laura Hoptman, curating the 54th Carnegie Inter- D.V. would love the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, in many ways the national, which will open on Oct. 9. Unlike most of her peers, who repeatedly pro- Garbo of American invitational art surveys -- revered but aloof, never garnering duce the art-world equivalent of a high school prom, where every senior is invited, the mainstream brouhaha of, say, the Whitney Biennial. Initiated in 1896, in the Hoptman hasn’t shirked her responsibility of leading -- producing an exhibition newly built Carnegie Museum of Art -- a year after the museum’s founder, the wily with an intimate, if unexpected, roster of 38 international artists. industrialist Andrew Carnegie, started the Carnegie Institute -- the International Hoptman says that the artists she has selected aim for the “high stakes’’ of con- was Carnegie’s scheme to play host to an exhibition and then have the pick of the fronting the big questions (life, death, free will, immortality, and the nature of belief), of “investigating the unknowables.’’ And while some people may fault her porary beat. “Brash’’ and “cerebral’’ barely begin to describe Harrison’s sculptures choices -- the presence of that frisky genius R. Crumb more than compensates for and photographs, media she frequently joins together into singular pieces, doing the inclusion of the pious Lee Bontecou, the art world’s current overrated saint -- hard-core, hilarious riffs on that Brancusi-esque chestnut of a problem: which is the when it comes to many of the younger artists, Hoptman is white hot. sculpture and which is the base? Tomma Abts, Trisha Donnelly, Saul Fletcher and Rachel Harrison, to pick four So why don’t you put your darling assumptions on ice for a moment? Judgment’s of the most exciting, all have staunch admirers among the cognoscenti, though a curator’s responsibility, an audience’s privilege. Having led her artists to Pitts- none are household names. They are artists about whom other artists get excited, burgh, Hoptman confidently gives them the freedom to let loose the unexpected. Be but whose challenging work can still be enjoyed by all. Don’t think of them as a warned. Last summer, Donnelly plastered parts of Venice with posters with letters new school, even though they share many of the same qualities (small scale, careful emblazoned vertically in white on cream: “BZRK.’’ production, ruthlessly winnowed output); rather, think of them as a demonstration All consonance but still no ease -- the way that more art, like life, needs to go. of how invigorating it can be to ponder the unknowables. For example, the compact, demanding canvases of Abts, a German-born, Lon- Photos: Showstoppers at the Carnegie International are expected to include, this don-based painter, get their first sustained American outing in Pittsburgh. The page, clockwise from top left: Trisha Donnelly’s “Night Is Coming (Warning),’’ paintings -- textured, abstract geometry of unfamiliar shapes -- are done in such 2002; Saul Fletcher’s “Untitled No. 23,’’ 1997; Donnelly’s “Rio,’’ 1999. Opposite radiant colors, from hues of foals and apricot to grass, that in the end they are as page, clockwise from left: Tomma Abts’s “Ert,’’ 2003, and “Zeyn,’’ 2004; Rachel personal as a family album. Harrison’s “Untitled,’’ 2001, and “Silent Account,’’ 2004. (Photographs by Tomma Donnelly, on the other hand, works in an array of media the way a sorceress uses Abts: courtesy of Carnegie International; Rachel Harrison: courtesy of Greene Naf- poison berries and eyes of newt. The immateriality of memory, time and space are tali Gallery; Trisha Donnelly: courtesy of Casey Kaplan; Saul Fletcher: courtesy of her clay, and telekinesis her method. A recent DVD projection flashes the words Anton Kern Gallery.) “Night is coming’’ as ominous promise -- though whether of doom, mourning, or some sort of brief surcease remains indeterminable -- allowing Donnelly to ques- tion belief and disturb complacence. Fletcher makes tiny pictures, finding in self-portraits erotic domesticities and a pictorial language much like the last works of Walker Evans, but with a contem-




Dear Casey, My upcoming show will include Drawings, photographs, a video (possibly) and a couple of other works as well. Also, there is this piece that changes very slightly every day during the show. I believe I have discovered a loophole.

I’m no longer in San Francisco. I’m in New York. I’m around. And you’ll be seeing me a lot. And yes, I understand that the gallery is open from 10-6.

Very Sincerely, Trisha The artist is currently included in the 2004 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pitts- burgh, PA and has recently been included in: Utopia Station, 50th International Exhibition of Art, Venice Bienniale, Italy; International Exposition of the Dak’Art Biennial of Contemporary Africa Art, Senegal, Africa; It happened tomorrow, Biennale de Lyon, France; Tuesday is Gone, Tblisi, Georgia; Works from the Bill and Ruth True Collection, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast in Contemporary Art, traveling exhibition; Collection (or How I spent a Year), PS 1 Contemporary Art Cen- ter, Long Island City, NY; Young Scene, Vienna Seccession, Vienna, Austria; Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY, traveling to Bilbao, Spain; Spectacular: The Art of Action, Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany.




bum in 1978. Until the recent US rerelease, it could only be men to stand very close behind Gilbert & George found abroad—and for quite a price. Massimo Morante’s and echo their gestures for the entire evening of the vocals, hung over winding staircases of organ and electric artists’ opening.) Riedel and Loesch also staged a guitar, fluctuate between a seductive gothic whisper and Who* concert where, while playing a Who record, TOP TEN a “this is when the confetti explosions go off behind me” they merely stood onstage with their instruments, scream. The album’s plot could easily be misinterpreted staring into space. They prefer the Lambretta to the as the transformation of a young man—Mark—into a Vespa. If you know what that means you’ll know what space bug, but, Goblin (in hindsight, of course) claim this they mean.** is their “just say no to drugs” album. SPIRIT LOST AND FOUND When the Mars Trisha Donnelly IN THE GLOAMING Adam Putnam’s “Magic Lantern” 10 rover lost contact with ground control, it series (on view last month at Artists Space in New broke the hearts of hundreds of scientists. I like Trisha Donnelly is a California-based artist. Her solo 6 to think that the Spirit found its way into a crevice show at Casey Kaplan, New York, will open this fall. York) reminds me of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1851 tale “The Familiar,” in which a man is somewhere on that vast, dry planet. Inside: Sturte- tormented by a delphic paranormal vant’s Stella La Paloma and, lean- DAAN VAN GOLDEN After seeing this Dutch artist’s character that he alone can sense ing softly against the cavern wall, 1work for the first time at last year’s Lyon Biennale I got in seemingly empty streets, empty John McCracken’s* sculpture Mars. totally wonderlost. So when I found the museum book- rooms, and dark corners. Le Fanu Spirit wasn’t lost; it just didn’t store (and the planet), I immediately bought a catalogue, uses merely a shadow of a presence, want to leave that weirding place, which included his work from the ’60s to today. At once lightly drawn and nebulous, to haunt so it shut its radio off. dignified and psychedelic, van Golden’s paintings are the main character into cataleptic often based on minute photographic forms and classi- death. With his “Magic Lanterns” * “Poetry” cal textiles. In one, he takes a snowy, pixelated outline Putnam reverses Le Fanu’s sleight of (derived from multiple Xeroxes of the photo of a para- hand: The looming presence takes I, too, dislike it: there are things keet that Matisse used in his late collages) and cradles the form of an empty room. In his that are important beyond all this it in sky blue. Photographs of his daughter between the odd, architecturally detailed projec- fiddle. ages of one and eighteen are lovingly portrayed, curiously tions, spaces quiver unnervingly with Reading it, however, with a perfect layered documents of youth. Within every photograph the movement of the silent candle- contempt for it, one discovers in there is a quiet oddity, and out of each painting grows light that fuels them. it after all, a place for the genuine. a form—elaborate and strangely pure of insistence.* Though difficult to lo- BRUNO SERRALONGUE, —Marianne Moore, 1919 cate (van Golden doesn’t show in the CORÉE (KOREA), 2001 Fan- US because he has an aversion to 7tastical, sad, at times funny, this shipping—perfect), the more I see of piece recounts the story of three van Golden’s work, the more radical Korean auto workers who trek from it becomes. Korea to France and Switzerland to extradite their embezzling fugi- ON TUESDAY* Read Knut tive boss. Consisting of found and 2Hamsun’s apologia, On Over- gathered texts and interviews and grown Paths. Then watch the new corresponding photographs (which DVD release of the 1966 Japanese Serralongue slightly tweaks)—all film The p*rnographers. assembled by the artist in Korea and France from 1982 to 2001— miniature magazines Corée shifts gracefully into and out 3 Small magazines are so lovely. of literature, speculation, and docu- It looks as if the reader grew after mentary, vastly expanding the idea buying one. If Teen Vogue is smaller, of the modern chronicle. does that mean that teenage girls are bigger? Taller? Are they rapidly grow- “MILKY WHITE WAY” Glory ing to an infinite and disorderly size? I falls down from the stars in the think The Economist should be next. 8Trumpeteers’ version of this joyful * If by chance you take me up on this, I suggest a deathbed song.* Recorded in 1947 Tuesday, as it took me the entire week to recover the lives of men Shannon by the radio-era southern black from a sympathetic insanity and paranoia I devel- 4 Ebner’s MLK, Double-Horizon, gospel group; now digitally remas- oped after consuming this combination. 2003, is a photograph of a giant, white tered for the encyclopedic Goodbye, Babylon box set * Speaking of the afterlife, I’m so happy to know cutout number “74” (the age Martin Luther King Jr. would (Dust-to-Digital, 2003). I push play. I listen. I rewind then that Anubis wears blue! Mind blowing. I’ve won- have been last year) set on a hilltop against an expanse repeat. Then repeat. Then repeat. dered about this since I was a child. And Horus has of California sky. Jason Dodge’s The Disappearance of truly wonderful taste. The giant plastic pouf. Ter- Samuel Paley, 2003 (a sculpture in honor of a park that “MULTIPLIED ENJOYMENT OF THE MOMENT” rific. Thank you, Mr. Galliano. This year I’m thinking is in honor of a man named Samuel Paley), comprising 9 That’s the intention of Michael S. Riedel and . . . Egypt, gods of the dead, pull your brains out thin aluminum rods hung from ceiling to floor, breaks sur- Dennis Loesch, directors of Oskar-von-Miller Strasse through your nostrils. Afterlife in heels. How reas- rounding walls into slivers to make hairline fractures in 16, who have taken blatant piracy and appropriation suring! space. Each of these works suggests a parallel-universe for a short walk. Oskar is a space not far from the * Which reminds me . . . Roger Daltrey’s stutter from reincarnation: one of a man who today exists for us most Portikus gallery in Frankfurt; for four years, Riedel “My Generation”? Whether it’s real or fake, is it pos- fully as an idea; the other of a monument to an idea of and Loesch have been re-creating Portikus’s exhibi- sible that appropriation, too, is a stutter? R-r-r-ich- a man. tions, transforming the knockoff into a one-of. (Jim ch-chard P-p-pr-r-rince? I would love it if it’s true. Isermann’s white-dotted floors at Portikus became ** STURTEVANT FOREVER! IL FANTASTICO VIAGGIO DEL “BAGAROZZO” Oskar’s “Isermann” floor scattered with white bal- * How can this be? Because he is the Kwisatz Had- MARK Goblin (the Italian rock group who scored most loons. . . . On another occasion, the pair sent two erach. of5 Dario Argento’s films) recorded this epiphany of an al- Trisha Donnelly, 44 Days to Hanoi Bulletin Board Project 001 September 16—Octcober 24, 2003

Trisha Donnelly’s project takes as its starting point the potential offered by a bulletin board to frame seemingly unrelated or disparate material in order to establish what might be thought of as a possible narrative. Cryptically titled 44 Days to Hanoi—a title that alludes to an exotic elsewhere as well as invoking an aspect of American foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s—Donnelly’s project centers around the libretto of the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin’s unfinished opera “The Mysterium.”

Scriabin (1872–1915) was an enigmatic figure, who would eventually take his own life, and is often considered to be one of the first modern composers. His unfinished, and unrealized, epic “The Mysterium” was intended as an immersive experience of “total theatre,” which would have included an expanded orchestra, a vast chorus, and scores of dancers, all set to an accompaniment of bells suspended from zeppe- lin-like airships. Scriabin stipulated that “The Mysterium” be performed in a custom-built amphitheater in India.

Following the free-associative logic of Scriabin’s text, and the some- what surreal impulses of its staging, Donnelly’s project proposes an unlikely alliance between its three distinctive parts: an acronym-like text work that spells out the project’s title, the complete libretto of “The Mysterium,” and two inflated black balloons arranged in an inverted V formation. As in all Donnelly’s works, narrative is suggested rather than explicitly stated. The utopian premise of Scriabin’s text, which sought to unite the heavens with earth, is conflicted by an allusion to the Vietnam War, invoked by both the project’s title and by an inverted V—for Victory?—made up from distinctly un-festive black missile-like balloons.

Trisha Donnelly was born in 1974 in San Francisco, California, where she continues to live and work. Recent solo exhibitions include Casey Kaplan 10-6, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris. Donnelly’s work was included in Utopia Station at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and will be included in The Gray Area—Uncertain Images: Bay Area Photog- Trisha Donnelly. Installation view raphy 1970s to Now, Wattis Institute (December 2, 2003–February 14, Bulletin Board Project 2003 2004).

The Bulletin Board has been supported by a generous grant from Art for Art’s Sake, New York. The Bulletin Board is a project space that is part of the ongoing exhibitions and public programs of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. Each semester three artists/practitio- ners are invited to create new projects for the Bulletin Board. Cream3, Phaidon Press, London, 2003

Born San Francisco, USA, 1974 Lives ond works in Los Angeles, USA nhagen; ‘How Extraordinory That the World Exists’, CCAC Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts Oakland, California; ‘Moving Pictures’, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; ‘The Show That Selected Solo Exhibitions/Performances: 2000 ‘Echo’, Artists Space, New York 2001 ‘Angel Heart, Will Show That A Show Is Not Only A Show’, The Project, Los Angeles; ‘Summer Cinema’, Casey Air de Paris; ‘A Little Bit of History Repeated’, Kunstwerke, Berlin 2002 Air de Paris; Casey Kaplan, Kaplan, New York New York; Galerie Houser & Wirth & Presenhuber, Zurich Selected Bibliography: 2000 Echo, Artists Space, New York, 2001 A Little Bit of History Repeated, Selected Group Exhibitions: 1999 ‘Minty’, Richard Telles Gallery, Los Angeles 2001 The Dedalic Kunstwerke, Berlin 2002 Maurizio Cattelan/Bettina Funcke/Massimiliano Gioni/Ali Subotnlck (eds.), Convention’, MAK Museum, Vienna; ‘I Love Dijon’, Le Consortium, Dijon; ‘Mink Jozt, Mark Foxx, Los Charley, No.1; Jens Hoffman, ‘Trisha Donnelly’, Flash Art, March-April; John Miller, ‘Openings: Angeles; ‘The Wedding Show’, Casey Kaplan, New York 2002 ‘Altoids Curiously Strong Collection’, Trisha Donnelly’, Artforum, Summer New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; ‘Gallery Luhmon’, Nils Stark Contemporory Art, Cope


On the opening night of her first solo exhibition in New York, Trisha at sea’, as further ‘evidence’ of Donnelly’s paranormal powers. From Donnelly staged a performance, or as she prefers to call it, a ‘demon- time to time the sound of a lone wolf howling deep in the woods could stration’. Dressed as a Napoleonic courier, she rode into the crowded be heard over loud speakers in the gallery. gallery on a horse to deliver a message of surrender: ‘If it need be The abstract relationship between photography, video and termed surrender, then let it be so, for he has surrendered in word, performance in this installation is indicative of Donnelly’s working not will .. ‘ The Emperor has fallen and he rests his weight upon your methods. Her live demonstrations are never recorded on film. They mind and mine and with this I am electric. I am electric!’ Having ut- may only be remembered and disseminated by written description or tered this rebellious declaration of defeat, Donnelly turned and exited word-of-mouth. The photographs (traditionally used by performance the gallery, leaving her guests to ponder the equally cryptic installation artists to document their otherwise ephemeral acts) only further Don- of video, photographs and drawings comprising her show. Donnelly’s nelly’s fictions. Her elusive narratives are woven from such webs of is an art of non sequiturs; the logic that connects her performances imaginary signs. In the video Rio (1999), Donnelly appears in silhou- with her objects and installations is entirely her own. She communi- ette against an ersatz, homespun sunset. To the accompaniment of a cates through privately coded belief systems powered by her expansive Latin ballad, she communicates in American Sign Language, but in- imagination. stead of translating the words of the song, she describes how to find In the video projection Canadian Rain (2002) Donnelly ap- the most beautiful spot on Earth. pears against a blank background wearing a trench coat. Her hair is In another video, Untitled (jumping) (1998-99), Donnelly re- blowing in the wind. She executes a series of stylized gestures from an enacts what she contends are the signature gestures of rock musicians entirely invented sign language to bring about a rainstorm somewhere at the moment they achieve their ‘performance wall’ the point when in Canada, a country that she identifies with inclement weather. A they reach physical transcendence through their music. By jumping grainy black and white photograph of a generic, mist-laden landscape on an unseen trampoline, she floats in and out of the frame in slow on the adjacent wall offered ‘proof’ that her incantations worked. A motion, assuming a dreamlike state and recreating the musicians’ second photograph, The Black Wave (2002), showing a close-up view of adrenaline-induced moments of ecstasy. The identities of the differ- a large ocean swell, was explained in the press release as an image of ent performers - from Ozzie Osbourne to Joey Ramone - are never ‘the unbroken wave in deep water that occurs before and after a storm revealed. Nancy Spector baja to vancouver the west coast and contemporary art Art, like religion, requires of its adherents a certain leap of faith. However, a skeptical art-viewing public, imag- ining themselves the brunt of in-jokes delivered by a condescending elite, has for more than a century, re- mained obstinately wary if not downright suspicious of the claims made on art’s behalf. Trisha Donnelly seems Trisha Donnelly to enjoy and even revel in this conundrum. In the sum- mer 2002 issue of Artforum, the artist and critic John Miller describes her working method thus: “Instead of asking viewers to suspend disbelief, [Donnelly] prods their credulity, pitting humdrum artifice against dead- pan preposterousness.” Donnelly’s works operate as both conceits and deceits. Things may or may not be what they seem. Consequently, her works operate as conceptual sleights of hand. Malibu, 2002, is a case in point. It is ostensibly a straightforward black and white pho- tograph of a nocturnal coastal scene. Were it not for its title, the image could well be just about anywhere. Given its title and its self-conscious ambiguity, Malibu fails as a literal description of the upscale oceanfront suburb of Los Angeles. Instead Malibu evokes an idea of how its namesake might exist in either the artist’s or the public’s imagination. Malibu becomes-not so much a place as a state of mind-a conceptual leap that echoes Ed Ruscha’s famous proposition that “Hollywood is a verb.” Similarly, Blind Friends, 2000-a C-print of a video still that shows a group of people at the beach-basks in its uncertainty. Whether these people are really blind, or even friends, is moot. Perhaps, as with the saying “love is blind,” Donnelly is musing on the nature of friendship. But we could speculate endlessly-and maybe this is her point. The artist’s own explanation of the image doesn’t necessarily make things any clearer. According to Don- nelly, Blind Friends is the only documentation of an action she organized in which a group of blind people were taken to the beach and asked to head off in what they thought was the direction of the wind. What followed-the almost random dispersal of the group, with each person heading off in a different direction-speaks volumes about the nature of subjective interpretation. In an untitled video of 1998-9, the artist, dressed in white, leaps (with the aid of a trampoline) in and out of the frame. At the apex of each leap; momentarily frozen in midair, Donnelly affects a facial or physical gesture which, she claims, is derived from epiphanic or ecstatic moments in rock performances by artists such as Iggy Pop and David Lee Roth. Without access to recordings of the original performances, we have little choice but to accept the artist’s word. Or, to put it another way, we are asked to believe. Like Duchamp’s before her, Donnelly’s art is an occasion for serious play. Playing truths off falsehoods, she allows the rational and the irrational to coexist. Privileging doubt, her works seem ultimately to confirm that we should never take anything for granted. Matthew Higgs

Trisha Donnelly was born in 1974 in San Francisco, California. She received a BFA from the University of Califor-

nia, Los Angeles, in 1995 and an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2000. In 2002 Donnelly had solo ex- CCA WA hibitions at Casey Kaplan 10-6, New York, and Air de Paris, Paris. Donnelly’s work has been included in group exhibi-

tions such as the Venice Biennale (2003); Moving Pictures, ttis MCASD SAM VAG Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002); and A San Francisco Little Bit of History Repeated, Kunst-vyerke, Berlin (2001). FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE




This exhibition will be the first solo show in New York of the Los Angeles-based artist Trisha Donnelly. The installation will consist of a new projected video loop, one large black and white photograph, a sound installation and drawings.

Canadian Rain, 2002, is a projected black and white video work that documents the artist creating rain in a distant Canadian forest. The viewer is presented with a picture of the artist enacting a beat sequence that creates rain in Canada.

The Black Wave, 2002, is a black and white photograph that pictures the unbroken wave in deep water that occurs before and after a storm at sea.

Howl, 2002, is a looped sound installation where the call of a lone wolf’s howl can be heard periodically.

During the opening on Friday April 5th the artist enacted a new demonstration where in guise of a courier on horseback she delivered a message of surrender.


NEXT EXHIBITION: Diego PERRONE MAY 10 - june 22, 2002


Trisha Donnelly Spain, 2001 Fibre print

In a more playful vein, Trisha Donnelly’s lation Untitled (bell) (2000/2001) can be heard work quietly and gradually surprises us, like a chiming from time to time in the gallery. Looking gentle experiment in cognitive dissonance. At first at one’s watch is no comfort: the ringing happens glance, her photographs may appear mundane. One without reference to any hourly schedule. Rousing blurry print, Blind Friends, transferred from vid- us from our routine investigation of artworks, Un- eo footage, shows a cluster of people on a sunny titled (bell) triggers a moment of self-conscious- beach. Improbably dressed in heavy winter coats ness in which we may reconsider our actions and and hats, the figures in the crowd seem lost, wan- surroundings. Confusion is thus transformed into dering about in various directions as if trying to something liberating. Our perception becomes more get their bearings. Who are the overdressed and expansive, making room for experiences of awe and off-kilter members of this dazed group? Are they curiosity. And in the process, our picture of the really blind? The fuzziness of the image under- world becomes extraordinary once again. mines the photograph’s ability to bear witness; it frustrates the viewer’s search for clues, condemn- ing us to a perpetual double take.

Subtle and slightly disorienting, Donnelly’s works in the exhibition-like those of her fellow contributors-serve as a reminder of how fascinat- ing our surroundings appear when we move outside our comfortable frameworks of perception. As if reminding us of this phenomenon, her sound instal-

34 35 Global Art

DRENALINE IS COMMONLY kown as a hormone re- sponsible for severe stimulation in times of fear or ex- citement,A causing rapturous moments of euphoria and ecstasy. It is those moments that Los Angeles artist Trisha Donnelly is trying to catch and reenact in her untitled video from 1999, In the 4 1/2 minutes of the film, she portrays an energy that she has observed in the performances of rock bands. The artist describes it an “overtaking force” that produces a trance-like state and forms an almost metaphysical intensity that is de- tached from the actual performances. In the video we see the artist flying in and out of the image Trisha in slow motion, a movement that seems to correspond with the up and down of the performer’s adrenaline level during a concert. This motion of appearance and disappearance oc- Donnelly curs exactly 17 times during the film, each time with another strangely looking gesture. Those bizarre poses are in fact the ecstatic moments Donnelly is trying to catch. For a split-sec- ond the artist merges with those people whose gestures and poses she has studied carefully, trying to find exactly that mo- ment of transcendence. The source for the different positions is never revealed. One does not know what they are or where they come from, and it is only the artist who tells me that we are in fact watching poses and gestures by musicians such as PP Arnold, Ronnie Spector, Joey Ramone or Ozzy Osbourne. Even though the video is made extremely simply, filmed with only one camera perspective and without artificial lightning, it has an incredible power. Donnelly is certainly appropriat- ing the video music format, but it feels as if we are watch- ing something that does not exist anymore. Like a document from an era long before contemporary music videos with over choreographed performances. In contrast to the entirely self- conscious pop stars of today, Donnelly’s film describes very personal and private conditions of fragility and loneliness. It is as if the public performance she mimics turns into a private moment of self-searching that reveals a true personal intimacy. As violent and aggressive as some of these performers appear on stage, during the moments the artist restages, they display a high vulnerability beyond any awareness of embarrassment. Donnelly removes herself physically from the viewer by hiding behind her hair, escaping into a dreamlike state in which she is losing orientation and control. The blurred image of the film indicates the ephemerality of the moment. As a re- sult, the work is extremely unreal and fragmentated character suggests the transitory nature of our lives and the somewhat illusory state of what we perceive as reality. Jens Hoffmann

Jens Hoffmann is fascinated by the unequal relationship between the powerful images in Trisha Donnelly’s film and the fragility her poses represent. The ephemerality of life in contrast to mankind’s confidence of an endur- ing civilization constituted by what remains.

March April 2002 Flash Art 97 S U M M E R 2 0 0 2 openings TRISHA DONNELLY


ord had it that the artist, dressed as a Napoleonic ever realizing you had missed anything at all. courier, rode into the gallery on a white horse, read Although Trisha Donnelly’s solo debut, at Casey a message of surrender, turned around and rode Kaplan in New York, was all about belief structures, the Wout. You had to be there. The rest of the show made no men- work itself is full of baffles and feints. Seeing is not nec- tion of it and the artist never photographs her performances. essarily believing. Instead of asking viewers to suspend Even if you were there, you might have missed the wolf howl disbelief, she prods their credulity, pitting humdrum artifice that was supposed to play intermittently. The serial drawings against deadpan preposterousness. In Canadian Rain (all of simple green tubes or cylinders proved no less elusive. The checklist said “see front desk for title,” and, on request, Word of mouth divides Donnely’s audience into those a gallery assistant would obligingly play an MP3 drum se- who saw a performance firsthand, those who know it quence. In short, you might have come and gone without only through words, and those who are oblivious

works at Kaplan 2002), a DVD projection, she repeatedly executes a series of martial arts-like gestures. At the end of each sequence of gesticulations, she points to a spot on the wall behind her. She stares straight into the camera, making eye contact that is not eye contact. Her movements are overdeliberate, quavering. A fan blows her hair, just as an approaching storm might. The press release laconically states that the artist is “creating” rain in Canada. On an ad- jacent wall were two photos. The first, Canada, could be anywhere. The grainy atmosphere could be rainy, misty, or even sunny. The second photo, The Black Wave, was also specified by the press release: “The unbroken wave in deep water that occurs before and after a storm at sea.” Yet, as purely visual information, the photo fails to substantiate any- thing. Moreover, a cursory Internet search for “black wave” yields plenty of goth bands but no ocean storms. If pho- tography, as Michael Taussig put it, is sympathetic magic in a modern key, here cameras seemingly produce effects in other cameras. You see a rain dance on one wall and, as if proof that it worked, photos of a shower and a sea storm

Trisha Donnelly, Canadian Rain, 2002, black and white digital video projection, 5 minute loop. S U M M E R 2 0 0 2

on another. Such an understanding relies on supplementary noticed that the bicyclist who appeared in the original was press material, which serves as a caption at one remove. now missing from the picture. Void, indeed! Perhaps Klein Thus, promotion, by establishing the artist’s quasi-magical wanted to be found out. Despite his persistent appeals to the prowess, becomes integral to her overall aesthetic. The job fantastic, his grasp of the medium proved more pragmatic of the wall is to correlate these otherwise disparate images. than Kaprow’s. If anything, taking pictures, especially family Performance art is thoroughly enmeshed with pho- snapshots, has become the contemporary ritual, bar none. tography, but performance needs photography far more Because Donnelly treats the camera as a ritualistic than vice versa. What photography always really needs is instrument, she rules out using it to document her perfor- mances. Instead of manipulating pho- tos, she exploits photography’s inher- ently pliant effects, taking its fictions at face value. Her demonstration at Artists Space, How to Groom a Horse, 2000, in effect taught the audience how to groom a slide projection. Of course, here too, you can’t take a picture of what’s not there, even if everyone pre- tends to agree that it is. In sharp con- trast to photodocumentation, word of mouth offers a more contingent form of promotion through its less indexical mode of address. Word of mouth effec- tively divides Donnelly’s audience into those who saw a performance firsthand, those who know it only through words, and those who are oblivious. If photos always promise vestigial contact, the word is the death of the thing. Contact and immediacy are exactly what the art- ist denies us. Appearing on horseback she declared she was only a messen-

Right: Trisha Donnelly, untitled*, 2002 12 pencil drawings on paper, each 30 x 22”. *Title is an audio CD. ger, thus absolving herself of all blame, i.e., by transforming event into message. Yet her surrender statement struck an a historical subject, something significant enough to -guar oddly defiant chord: “...If it need be termed surrender, then antee its own significance. Allan Kaprow, for one, distrusted let it be so, for he has surrendered in word, not will. He has the camera because it seemed to frustrate his quasi-archaic said, ‘My fall will be great but it will be useful.’ The emperor rituals. He wanted ritual to integrate art and life. Conversely, has fallen and he rests his weight upon your mind and mine Yves Klein exploited the camera as an instrument of publicity. and with this I am electric. I am electric.” The artist surrenders For years his Icarian photocollage captioned “The Painter of to the audience. Whereas entertainment ordinarily convinces Space Hurls Himself into the Void!,” 1960, fooled everyone- the audience it’s not really there, Donnelly effects a role re- -until he published a second version of the image. Someone versal. Unbeknownst to the gallerygoers themselves, they S U M M E R 2 0 0 2

Trisha Donnelly, The Black Wave, 2002, black and white photograph, 50 x 60”. have been locked in low-intensity warfare in a minimum- security prison. This they are surprised to discover; they are surprised to have won. If history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce, the theatrics of Waterloo are now exhausted. But, as another mode of repetition, mimicry confounds such facile oppositions. Taken together, they are more like alternating current-or everyday life. Donnelly belongs to a generation of West Coast artists taken with Bas Jan Ader’s paragon of incommu- nicability, self-mythification, and antidocumentation. Her work, shown at New York’s New Museum of Contempo- rary Art, Le Consortium in Dijon, and Air de Paris, among other venues, may also concern more muted historical tendencies. An untitled video from 1999, for example, collates a gamut of MTV performances by Joey Ramone, Kim Carnes, Weather Girl Izora Rhodes, David Lee Roth, Dionne Warwick, and Iggy Stooge, among others. Don- nelly contends that every singer makes a characteristic S U M M E R 2 0 0 2

Trisha Donnelly, Canada, 2002, black and white photograph, 16 x 20”. Trisha Donnelly, Eye Model, 2002, cotton on paper, 36 x 26”.

tic-at the song’s high point. These she reenacted while jump- nis (bite). The suturing- or de-suturing-of title and work sug- ing on a trampoline, at the peak of a bounce. In slow motion gests suspending the patronym and points to an anonymous she floats in and out of the frame, beckoning inscrutably. The women’s history. reconstituted ecstasy is loaded with unconscious affect. Eye Last year Donnelly took part in Jens Hoffmann’s Model, shown at Casey Kaplan this year, is a device for his- performance series “A Little Bit of History Repeated” at torical amnesia. It looks like a sweatband (who said the ‘80s Kunst-Werke Berlin (see Artforum, March 2002), but she revival was over?) designed to serve as seems more preoccupied with unrealized a sleep mask. The aforementioned se- histories than with the past per se. Writing rial drawings of nameless green tubes, in this magazine, Robert Smithson once for their part, play on the notion of the claimed that “the ponderous illusions of obscene: literally, that which is away solidity, the non-existence of things, is from the scene or offstage. The drum what the artist takes for ‘materials.’” For pattern/title alludes to Serge Gains- Donnelly, this is less a polemic than an ac- bourg’s “Love on the Beat-beat” being tual working method. a hom*onym of the French slang for pe- John Miller a New York-based artist, writer, and critic

S U M M E R 2 0 0 2 165 Artists Space *** April/May 2000 *** 4/volume 6/NYC

Trisha Donnelly How to Groom a Horse (Demonstration), 2000

Adaptive Process: Iris Binor Iris Binor uses photographs, objects, actors, video, and clothing In her installations. Referred to as systems, they incorporate replicated objects, clothing, or furniture from her immediate inhabited environment. The motive behind this act of replica- tion is possession. It embodies an idea that exists in a phrase like “repeat after me” in which mimicry takes part in a process of ownership. Clothing (tailored doubles) is worn on opening night: these are roaming extensions that serve as distractions. In a series of colored photographs entitled Zoloft 97, the interchangeability of objects, props, and humans strengthens an idea that space, while disorienting, may, at the same time, be most tangible.

Binary process: Trisha Donnelly Trisha Donnelly makes video projections and performs “demonstrations” that ex- plore areas of sensory perception and cognition. In a small video projection, entitled Rio, the artist, appearing as a solitary silhouette against a hazy, homemade sunset and accompanied by the sound of two love songs, performs American Sign Lan- guage. One assumes that she is translating the words of the song, but, in fact, she signs precise hiking directions to an idyllic place in the hills of Rio de Janeiro. As with a conjuring trick, you are only aware of what is going on at the moment of the illusion and, like a drug-induced hallucination, you are released from the prison of language and time. Her use of elliptical meaning indicates endless possible direc- tions that perpetually slip back and forth between physical and imagined space, and real and fictive experience.

TD Press Kit Working.Indd (2024)


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