Jesse Darling and Phoebe Collings-James at Company

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0136

Artists: Jesse Darling and Phoebe Collings-James

Exhibition title: ATROPHILIA

Venue: Company, New York, US

Date: October 28 – December 4, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Company, New York

‘atrə’filēə: desire for collapse or stasis

In a conversation between James Baldwin and anthropologist Margaret Mead in Rap on Race, Mead posits the invention of the boat as the beginning of the accelerated movement of peoples and, in turn, a singular moment in the birth of colonial history, which is also the history of modernity. Boats, like trains and airplanes, have remained important—and relatively unchanging—devices for the circulation of objects and individuals, as well as individuals as objects. In the “Carrier Bag Theory of Evolution” novelist Ursula K. Le Guin posits that the first cultural device was likely a bag, rather than the penetrating spear or club: “A leaf a gourd a shell a net a bag a sling a sack a bottle a box a container. A holder. A recipient.”

In ATROPHILIA, Jesse Darling and Phoebe Collings-James engage comparative mythologies and theologies as a way to imagine both a counterhistory and an alternative to accelerationist narratives of technology and progress (atrophilia is a term coined by the artists to mean [the libidinal] desire for collapse or stasis). In this new series of sculpture work, both artists attempt to interrupt the cycles of signification normally assigned to objects and in this way give voice to what Fred Moten calls “the eloquence of things.”

In her new sculpture, PCJ considers this historical and political space between the sac and the boat in both their actual and hypothetical trajectories. Thinking beyond associations to wombs and women’s work, the artist imagines the container as an un-gendered multi vessel, an “extra set of hands.” These works refer in part to the votive altars of municipal message boards and street side shrines, framing common food bags and ubiquitous PP transit sacking, arranged here to highlight their respective roles in globalized trade. Displaying these remnants in almost coffin-like boxes, PCJ recalls the brutal human cost of this market.

In an ongoing project to denaturalize the theological ecosystem of capitalist modernity as “an arbitrary, violent fairytale,” JD’s work and research examines object relations as a form of syncretic worship—a technology in itself—in which agency is conferred to the objects themselves. Imagining the high church of the modern as a moveable or precarious tabernacle, these new works feature an array of free-floating consumer goods, liturgical devices and mythical symbols detached from the architectures and taxonomies in which they have their place—and draw parallel lines between the long nodal teleologies of empire, from “bread and circuses” Rome to the USA of today.

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0042+0041

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0043

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0015

Phoebe Collings-James, Draw Back Your Bow, 2016, Polypropylene woven sack, tape, poplar frame, 56 x 56 in (142.24 x 142.24 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0054

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0048

Jesse Darling, Liberty Poles, 2016, Flour bags, foam, ribbon, steel, aluminum, Dimensions vary

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0074

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0063

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0079 1

Jesse Darling, Liberty Torch 1 (Ace of Wands Series), 2016, Jesmonite, pigment, plastic, brass, styrofoam, 14 x 6 x 10 in (35.56 x 15.24 x 25.4 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0073

Jesse Darling, Valedictorian (1), 2016, Steel poles, plastic seat, 95 x 20 x 50 in (241.3 x 50.8 x 127 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0086

Jesse Darling, Liberty Torch 2 (Ace of Wands Series), 2016, Jesmonite, pigment, plastic, brass, styrofoam, 14 x 6 x 10 in (35.56 x 15.24 x 25.4 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0101

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0115

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0019

Phoebe Collings-James, Bodied, 2016, Polypropylene woven sack, tape, poplar frame, 70 x 70 in (177.8 x 177.8 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0118

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0120

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0127

Jesse Darling, Border Sphinx 1 (boundary boy), 2016, Polystyrene, paster, silicon, plastic, cotton, tape, steel, 57 x 13 x 22 in (144.78 x 33.02 x 55.88 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0136

Jesse Darling, Border Sphinx 2 (boundary boy), 2016, Polystyrene, plaster, silicon, plastic, cotton, tape, steel, barbed wire, 62 x 93 x 29 in (157.48 x 236.22 x 73.66 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0145

Jesse Darling, Votive, 2016, Steel, wax, gauze, electric candl, 40 x 12 x 10 in (101.6 x 30.48 x 25.4 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0094

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0091

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0098

Jesse Darling, Liberty Torch 3 (Talking Stick), 2016, Jesmonite, pigment, plastic, brass, styrofoam, microphone stand, 65 x 26 x 26 in (165.1 x 66.04 x 66.04 cm)

16_10_28_Atrophilia_0099

Jesse Darling, Bucephalus/Comanche (War Horse), 2016, Styrofoam, plastic, feathers, aluminum, steel, cotton, 59 x 11 x 18 in (149.86 x 27.94 x 45.72 cm)

Related Post

Leave a Comment