Gerard and Kelly exhibit showcasing at the University Art Museum
By ELIOR MOSKOWITZ
The University Art Museum opened its new exhibit, “Gerard & Kelly,” last Tuesday, Feb. 2, hosting acclaimed artists Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly, whose multidisciplinary works address questions of “sexuality, collective memory, and the formation of queer consciousness.”
The presentation given on Thursday, Feb. 4 by Gerard and Kelly commenced with a live demonstration of their piece, “Timelining,” which was first presented as part of a solo exhibition at The Kitchen, New York, and later as part of an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 2015. The piece consisted of the two artists circling the room in seemingly candid circles, simultaneously discussing personal events that converged only with the prepositional phrase “in front of.”
The piece examined the binding force of memory both to one’s own narrative and to one another, while also exploring the elastic nature of time in its often non-chronological patterns that weave in and out of one’s life. Themes of desire for belonging and kinship relations were directly investigated and leveraged through the instrumental featuring of performers who fell on all spectrums of intimacy.
Their subsequently presented pieces, “Kiss Solo” (2011) and “Reusable Parts/Endless Love” (2012) were created in the image of Tino Sehgal’s work, “Kiss” (2010), displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in 2010. These pieces inquisitively deconstruct the heteronormative nature of Sehgal’s piece. In the former, a single actor performs the choreography described from Sehgal’s work, shifting and combining pronouns in response to the text, retelling the intimate steps of the kiss in his own voice.
The latter piece includes the swapping of partners, moving the construction and focus of the piece beyond that of individual identities through its procedural, minimalist approach. The artists affirm that their goal was not to create a spectacle, but instead to question representations of love in how they are produced, narrated and consumed.
These pieces were just a select few of the artists’ provocative repertoire, including other works such as “P.O.L.E. (People, Objects, Language, Exchange)” (2014), “Two Brothers” (2014), “Reverberations” (2015) and “Transcripts” (2014), which raise social commentary regarding our interactions with history, subjectivity and resistance.
The politics of intimacy were a pervading theme of the artists’ work, examined in multidimensional contexts. The artists describe the effects on the ego in relation to intimate exchange to be of particular interest to them, as well as the ironic implications of distance and discomfort that intimate acts can forge for a person.
Gerard and Kelly’s expressive and innovative works present stirring commentary regarding identity, personal narrative, and relations of objectivity and subjectivity that underlie and universally pertain to the human experience.
The performance installation, “Reusable Parts/Endless Love,” will be presented on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center after a reception from 5-7 p.m. at the University Art Museum. A video exhibition displaying the artists’ work over the past five years will be screened as a single-channel video projection at the University Art Museum until April 2.