Two new works commissioned for the Museum of Contemporary Art – Yinchuan, Ningxia, China
for the Yinchuan Biennale that is curated by Bose Krishnamachari
9 September — 18 December 2016
Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna, Austria is pleased to announce Mary Ellen Carroll’s new works A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH and NEXT TIME WITH JACKY*. These works are being realized in Yinchuan at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Yinchuan, Ningxia, China for the 2016 Yinchuan Biennale.
Expanding Krishnamachari’s use of Tagore, albeit into the west — in the second stanza of Chapter IX in Jack Spicer’s poem from 1961, A Fake Novel about the Life of Arthur Rimbaud, the San Francisco Renaissance/Beat poet progenitor wrote:
Things have passage.
Most rivers eventually reach the ocean.
Or a lake—an inland sea.
This is like Africa in all continents.
Spicer’s language could be misread as a poetic description of a landscape painting, posing as a poem. Had he substituted another continent (in reference to trade) for Africa (in reference to migration)—or more specifically a country, it would be, “This is like China in all continents.” China is in fact, in all continents.
Spicer’s process to take Rimbaud’s actual life as the starting point is similar to how, A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH utilizes the textile, Brocade with Hares, China, Northern, Mongol Period, 13th to mid 14th century, from the permanent collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio as a catalyst for the conceptual underpinnings of the work realized for Yinchuan. The fragment was included in the exhibition “When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles” at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in the spring of 1998. It places the work in the region of Yinchuan along the Yellow River, where it may in fact have actually been woven. It is fact that the general weaving technique used in this textile is characteristic of this region in China. There is also an additional warp in the weaving and this pairing of the warp evidences a technique that was introduced from the west—coming from eastern Iran. At some point, an individual made passage on the Silk Trade Route along the Yellow River and this approach was introduced to the area.
The dislocation of the hare to Yinchuan intentionally relocates an image to where it may have been originally constructed. This hare is rendered in glyphs or binary code and references the further development in weaving and the Jaquard loom that eventually became the foundation for computer programming and it functions as its aid memoire—to use a diplomatic term. This application of encryption is also a referent to Carroll’s earlier work, act of god, 1999 wherein she encrypted site photographs of Mies van der Rohe’s Glass House with the text about the building’s process between Dr. Edith Farnsworth and Mies. It also constructs or conflates a historical moment in the present as the future as the actual, which may not necessarily be factual. The mimeograph of the real is woven with the fake, resulting in a collision of fantasy and fact.
A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH expands the pageantry of the biennial into the spectacle of diplomacy and trade policy, perhaps where it rightfully belongs. This moment begins historically at the invitation that President Chiang Kai-shek extended to President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie to visit China in the early 60s. After hearing about JFK’s plans for an official state visit to Europe it was then proposed tocontinue the passage to the east in order to solidify diplomatic relations and to discuss trade and foreign policy. The world knows why this meeting never took place. On June 26, 1963—Berlin was the furthest east in Germany that Kennedy would travel. He first appeared in the British Sector in front of the Brandenburg Gate on a provisional platform. It was architected as a modified Bauhaus structure providing a 360-degree view to “look far away” to the east in order to “see and be seen.” The DDR reciprocated and simultaneously staged their own spectacle in parity to “see and be seen” and blocked the view to the east by covering the openings of the Brandenburg Gate. It was impossible to “look far away.” A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH re-imagines a to-scale version of those occupied spaces on the Brandenburg Gate on the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan with the hare as the central image. (As an aside, it is worth noting that it was nearly ten years later that Kissinger seeded the ground for Nixon’s state visit to China from February 21 to 28, 1972 and the historical meeting with Mao Tse-tung. It was the first time in over two decades that images of China would be visible in the U.S.)
What was made and has since been forgotten and was strategically timed and highly visible during JFK’s historic state visit was a truck that corralled the space in front of the entrance to the Brandenburg Gate as viewed from the west that had a placard painted in bright yellow with an English text painted in red affixed to one side that was an enjoiner for the west to fulfill their treaties with the east. The truck encircled the space and then parked directly in front of where JFK stood to face the east. Both the east and the west constructed their image that would be disseminated throughout the world by the media on both sides of the wall. Immense crowds lined the streets and hung from buildings to experience the motorcade. The desire to “see and be seen” was indistinguishable from either side. That desire is no different than it is in the present, nor is the underlying trade negotiations and diplomacy that culture, or a biennial is a vestige of.
NEXT TIME WITH JACKY* is the adjacent work to A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH and organizes the drivers of the ubiquitous three wheeled motorcycle that hauls and transports goods and services within Yinchuan and China. The motor transport functions as the last mile in the network of trade routes within the city. The drivers create an informal performance that disseminates the work of art throughout the city of Yinchuan, as well as it being the work of art, in and of itself. A sign in English that reads and is the ‘slogan’ for Yinchuan — Look far Away, is affixed to the vehicle in a similar technique as the structure that was constructed for the vehicle that encircled the Brandenburg Gate. It is a portable signifier of the biennial and the museum as the site that is dislocated from the city center. The architecting of diplomacy as an extension of culture and the historical symbols are exemplified in A FAKE HARE HAS 24 GOLD TEETH and NEXT TIME WITH JACKY, albeit within the realm of the poetic as a good, as a fake, all of which are reenactments that are performances in a medium that is intertwined within the media.
(Next Time with Jacky* is a sign that a group held up when JFK’s motorcade went by their apartment bloc. Jacky is the first lady of the United States, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The sign makers misspelled her name as Jacky, when it is Jackie.)
Mary Ellen Carroll’s (MEC, studios) prolific career as a conceptual artist spans more than twenty years and occupies the disciplines of architecture/design, policy technology, writing, performance and film. The foundation of the practice is the investigation of a single, fundamental question: what do we consider a work of art? Carroll frequently collaborates with designers/architects, musician/singers, stand-up comics and historians in other disciplines. She is the recipient of numerous grants and honors, and most recently was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin for 2016, a Graham Foundation Fellowship for prototype 180 and the AIA’s Artist of the Year Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollack/Krasner Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited and is numerous public and private collections including: The Whitney Museum-New York, The New York Public Library, The Generali Foundation-Vienna, Austria, Jacobs Museum-Zurich, Switzerland, ICA Philadelphia/London, the Renaissance Society-Chicago, Museum ¬für Völkerkunde-Munich, Alserkal Avenue-Dubai, MOMUK-Vienna and many others.
Lecturing and public presentations are an important part of Carroll’s work and institutions have included: Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, The DIA Art Foundation-New York, MOMA-New York, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, Alserkal Avenue-Dubai, Busan Museum of Modern Art-South Korea, Rice University in Houston, Columbia University in New York, University of California at Irvine, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea amongst others.
Carroll’s ongoing opus prototype 180 in Houston is a conceptual work of art and urban alteration that entails a radical form of renovation through the physical revolution and reoccupation of a single family house or its lot in the aging, first ring subdivision of Sharpstown in Houston, Texas. In conception and planning since 1999, the project is temporally, physically, and structurally organized around its catalytic rotational transformation. While the rotation and relocation of the house on its lot interrupt the relation of the house to its context and to existing street typologies they also signal the altered life of the house as a space devoted to a program that will address the issue of aging neighborhoods and their potential futures. prototype 180 strategically intersects conceptual art projects, social activism, urban legislation and economic processes. Its 180 degree revolution registers aesthetically against a history of critical house alterations and administratively in relation to Houston’s unregulated land use policies and its absence of zoning. It has been exhibited at Columbia University’s GSAPP, Galerie Stadtpark, Krems, Austria and the Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria. (www.prototype180.org) and forthcoming in NYC.
A monograph of her work published by SteidlMACK (London and Gottingen) received the AIGA’s 2010 Book of the Year Award with an essay by Jonathan Flatley and an interview with Hamza Walker. Carroll was commissioned to realize the performance and furniture Open Outcry and Ground Control that were both including in the exhibition FEAST at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston. She executed, No. 18 an architectural insertion and rooftop gardens as a commission for the Busan Biennial in Korea that was directed by Roger Buergel who was the artistic director for Documenta 12 and with curatorial collaboration by Ruth Noack. That work is still ongoing. She participated in the American Pavilion for the Venice Biennale for 2014 for Architecture. Public Utility 2.0 (www.publicutility2.com) was a commission for the triennial Prospect.3 New Orleans and utilizes unused television frequencies as a material and is now an innovation territory and has evolved in the policy and technology developed by VUUM, LLC. She recently performed the lecture, TOO, STOP THE WAR at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center and gave a talk at the DIA Foundation in NYC on the artist Fred Sandback as well as participating in the exhibition/symposium, The Legal Medium at Yale Law School in the use of law as a medium. Carroll will be participating and giving talks in the Asia Contemporary Art Week convening in New York and the New Cities, Future Ruins in Dallas at SMU this November and her ongoing research and photographs and writing on the Architecture of Asylum/Migration will be included in the Museum of Modern Art’s forthcoming exhibition, Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter’s digital platform from October 01, 2016–January 22, 2017.
For further press information and images please contact:
Melanie Wagner, Director
Galerie Hubert Winter
Breite Gasse 17
1070 Vienna, Austria
T. +43 (1) 524 09 76 / F.-9