Art shows often compensate for a lack of thematic connection with the use of vague art lingo. I understand that this doesn’t always happen deliberately, but it can lead to all sorts of prejudice about art, and one risks that viewers get turned off of art, confused and insecure, often in spite of the artist’s efforts to create something meaningful.
That’s why it is such a delight to visit Sometimes I can see it all perfectly, a small group show at Soy Capitán with works by Nona Inescu, Marge Monko, and Ola Vasiljeva. It’s a shining example of how curation can actually aid in the understanding of artworks. Here a poem, as a central thought, interconnects and inspires the works.
The exhibition takes its title from experimental composer Robert Ashley’s poem “The Crack” that speaks principally about the obscurity and non-linearity of remembering. Elements within the works relate in different ways to the poem. For example, we see the word crack interpreted as a structure in stone, as an ass, and as a love confession.
Does ‘love confession as a crack’ cause a frown? To be frank, I am not sure Marge Monko means her video work as an interpretation of the word per se. But pausing to think, I see that a confession is similar to a crack as a physical event in at least one way: both revealing the inside that is otherwise closed off.
Although Monko’s video work Dear D starts out as a love letter – we witness the careful crafting of an email in which a woman confesses her love to an unnamed D – it quickly turns into an essayistic analysis of attraction, visually supported by Google, Photoshop, and Youtube amongst other applications. The piece references psychoanalytic concepts and novels, like I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus, the curator informs me. High-brow as Dear D gets, it also features the Beatles song “Something in the Way She Moves”, and this illustrates the tightrope walk it pulls off, being intellectually challenging but also careful not to alienate.
In Nona Inescu’s photographs, we see women in between the recesses of broken rocks. The women remind my friend, who came along for the exhibition, of chicks hatching, and so one could say the photos evoke the connotation of birth. Black and white, Inescu’s work creates a serious, weighted atmosphere. Yet in her video piece that features an ‘explanation’ about the relation between the human body and stones and menhirs, the idiosyncratic quality of her work becomes visible too.
Ola Vasiljeva shows us an installation – a carpet, each end upturned, and on it an object resembling at once an ass and a heart symbol – and two glazed frames with drawings. These are of scenes featuring people and furniture and could very well be thinly sketched memories. The paper is perforated revealing a layer with circles of glittering paint, and there are marks on the glass too.
Sometimes I can see it all perfectly presents the works of three artists whose intentions can be obscure, but through a well-considered presentation, the viewer gets a chance to navigate the web of connotations important in their praxis.
Sometimes I can see it all perfectly
Nona Inescu, Marge Monko, Ola Vasiljeva
Invited by Alisha Danscher
At Soy Capitán
November 17, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Open Wednesday to Saturday