“Black Box: Exchanges,” is a new initiative dedicated to showcasing solo projects for one evening only. This summer join us every Monday or Thursday for an intimate evening with an exciting group of emerging and mid career artists.
Black Box will provide access to artists whose work emphasizes new media and the latest technologies. Conceived by artistic director Juan Puntes with the exhibition space studiously designed by architect Ana Catalina Rojas, Black Box is an enclosed cubical black hole, all six surfaces hued in a dense black ultra-flat finish paint that throws the normal perception of visual elements off kilter, defying gravity as if floating in space, where the artwork can define a new independent spatial identity and is free of the traditional exhibition format.
Black Box aspires to tap into White Box’s new Media Lab, which as it further develops will expand into an invitational for artists from around the world to present in real time, using the internet highway and new telecommunications means, their latest gamut of various media, performative, interactive and sonoric artworks. While the build-out of (deleted WBX’s) the new Media Lab is in the process of receiving capital funding, Black Box provides artists with a creative, truly in-kind collaborative opportunity and forum, one that builds on intern and professional in-house talents.
Week ten opens with emerging artist Anja Koestler’s Human Nature, a video installation emphasizing its audio component. Initially the video appears to depict abstracted patterning; however, the imagery soon reveals itself to be hues and tones of water overflowing, specifically a waterfall. Seeking to avoid appropriation of existing footage, Koestler, who lives and works in New York, turned to the city’s urban waterfalls, in particular the 9/11 Memorial, the prime source for Human Nature. Art Historically, the waterfall has been a common reference pointing to connections with the sublime, a notion that many writers have connected with the traumatic event of 9/11. Susan Sontag observed that after 9/11 “all the principal figures in the American government” seemed to be “at a linguistic loss, as they searched for images with which to encompass this unprecedented rebuke to American power and competence.” Koestler’s imagery addresses the 9/11 media coverage without resorting to the literal, avoiding what Freud calls the repetition compulsion, the psychological occurrence in which a person continually replays a traumatic event. If the sublime consists of a disturbance and the overcoming of that disturbance, Koestler’s piece represents the relief that follows the fear experienced, the awe that follows shock.
Anja Koestler is originally from Germany and received her MFA degree from Universitat Der Kunst, Berlin. She has exhibited mainly in Europe and currently lives and works in New York.
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Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Leila Heller Gallery, September 2014
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