Nikita Gale Creates a Pressurized Stage for Anticipation at 52 Walker – ARTnews.com

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The six aluminum bleachers scattered throughout New York’s 52 Walker gallery may have initially been read as performance seats. Initially dormant, the lighting program started. Rays traced around the gallery, spotlighting walls, floors, and ceilings, illuminating the gallery in diffuse colors, looking for calm objects. But there was no proscenium or central stage. Many of the lights sat directly on the parquet floor. The cable was deliberately disturbed and unhidden. Walk on the drifting electric cords and navigate the barricade-like bleachers that have fallen to the side. The audience performed this quiet choreography, with the composer Wada’s soundscape moving back and forth between the vocals and the environmental sounds that went up and down in the middle of the track for more than two hours. ..

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Nikita Gale’s exhibition “End of Subject” extends the artist’s previous artistic strategy of withdrawal, obfuscation and removal. At Gale’s 2021 exhibition “Private Dancer” at the California African American Museum, the artist installed in honor of Tina Turner. Featuring a stack of sculptures in the center of the theater truss. Gail’s frequent collaborator Josephine Wang programmed a set of nested spotlights as if to accompany the 1984 album bearing Turner’s name. Uplifting the singer’s first solo work after temporarily retiring from stage to escape the abusive grip of Ike Turner in the late 70’s (a drama featured in the 2021 documentary). Tina), Gale evoked an infrastructure that tuned, pressured and embraced music icons, despite providing a platform for performance and self-affirmation.

If Gail’s installation first set expectations for human beings and spectators, they eventually lacked their appearance and were made into sculptures (theater equipment, seats) and environment (light, sound). Extend the audience’s attention to include infrastructure support for. In dramatizing the encounter between the viewer and these objects at the expense of the actual “event”, the artist also surrounds our attention and directs ourselves. Behaviors often associated with these settings and objects: self-performance, aesthetic expression, identity, political and social participation.

Here, some crisp metal bleachers were cut out of the stadium and distorted under pressure until they became a metaphor for certain forms of social pressure. Rendering these supports unavailable for the audience, Gale was pushed back into the stage, arena, or gallery as an aesthetic spectacle space. At their most emphasized, the distorted bleacher could also cause the spiritual nature of the subject, such as Turner, and push it almost to the limit. At the material level, deformation served a proof function that we could only partially understand. They were the ruins of events or shocks that we only experienced in the aftermath.

At first glance, handwritten words are engraved on the aluminum panel. "Nerve," "finger," When "sister." The spotlight attached to the work is facing the upper right.

Nikita Gale, Body print: blood2022, Aluminum Panel Stain, Etched, and LED Spotlight, 40 x 30×4½ inches.
Artist and 52 Walker, New York / © Nikita Gale Courtesy

In honor of David Hammons’ Bodyprint series, six aluminum panels along the wall support this external compression. Since 1968, Hammons has created many figurative works by coating the skin and hair with margarine or oil, pressing the body against a piece of paper, and fixing the impression with powder pigments. Hammons lithographs a patriotic and anti-black symbol (American flag, Spade), pretending to be a gesture mark that sends a figure and grants unmediated access to the subject’s inner nature. Visualizes racist stereotypes and general prejudices to assemble and reinforce traces of his body. Historically, he has separated the embodiment of a black man from his national identity. Hammons, an artist who has consistently challenged the need to participate in the world of art, stopped producing the series in the late ’70s due to the immediate commercial success of his work. In Gail’s “Body Print” (2022), various body parts, fluids, and divergence (bones, urine, muscles, breathing, brain, blood) were followed by subtitles, as if cast from body parts. An expressively etched word that describes family relationships (mother, father, sisters), human body, and personality traits (kindness, stupidity, strong), accompanied by surface depressions and embossments that appear to be. A small LED spotlight fixed to each of these panels extends to the wall at an angle that extends beyond words, stereotypes, and screens, hinting at subjects beyond both optical and linguistic stenosis. Cast the attached projection.

Like Hammons’ work, Gale’s prints reject the idea that subjectivity is trapped on the surface of the panel and can be further compressed through the general register of language. The personal descriptor is quickly abstracted and separated from the individuals it may refer to. In this zone of generics, the boundaries between one subject and another cannot be discerned, as they can be felt in the crowd. At the same time as pursuing the impact, we gathered in an installation that seems to be expecting a performance that does not arrive, and the space that resists interpretation, the subject (the central figure and the main “topic”) remains uncertain. I was left behind in an exhibition. The title of Gail’s exhibition may then serve as a provocation, a declaration that there is no “end of subject” for a subject that is permanently anxious.

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