Agape Enterprise is pleased to begin our fall season with “Frame,” a project by Chelsea Knight. “Frame” is a single channel video that explores the “construction of gender” through a delegated performance by construction workers, reciting feminist theoretical texts and poetry. Set in a room painted black, a team of male and female construction workers of various races and ages assemble metal frames while reciting texts from feminist theoretical writing and poems. A large part of feminist texts aim to analyze the voice of patriarchy. Thus, a series of recitations of feminist texts, woven together with performers’ personal stories, unfolds to reflect a long-standing ideological gender conflict.
Gender, as the social organization of hierarchical relationships coded as feminine/masculine, does not merely refer to the difference of sexes, but also to a variety of other differences, including class and race. Knight’s “Frame,” through presenting a group of a particular class, yet also imbued with the differences of sex, race, age and sexual orientation, questions who is actually the “feminine.” The piece also offers deep insight into dynamics of power/resistance in mutual formation. In the end, “Frame” leaves us to wonder what this construction is becoming: the structure of power/resistance that is constantly in the process of construction? Or more positively, how does each of us envision ourselves to take part in its making?
“Frame” will be accompanied with three performances by Jonathan VanDyke, Yamil Rodriguez and Elise Rasmussen, in the following weeks. In order to further explore the relationship of the “performance of the self” and language, as proposed in “Frame,” Knight has asked these artists to create performances that disrupt the normative relationship between the self and language.
With One Hand Between Us (+ 1) is a one-night reprisal of a 40-hour work that VanDyke created last fall for Performa 11, here stripped of the props, costumes, makeup, sculptures, and dripping paint that marked the original. Two men and one woman move without speaking, constantly re-defining their relationships, shifting from tenderness to aggression, from familiarity to perversion, from military-like discipline to rampant chaos; VanDyke performs as the “+1,” moving in and out of the action and offering such loaded cues as, "shift into prayer sequence," and "prostitute yourself."
Rodriguez has been interested in the multifarious language used in erotic literature and the effectiveness of certain vernacular on the reader. Dirty Story explores the theme of breaking character in language using subtleties in diction, emphasis and vocabulary.
Rasmussen’s Untitled looks at aspects of memory and recollection, weaving together narratives from various sources, including those provided by the audience, to show how perception of personal and known histories are affected.
Chelsea Knight was born in Vermont and lives and works in New York. She received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Knight recently completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and was a 2007 Fulbright Fellow in Italy. She was a 2010-2011 resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program and a 2012 resident at Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Solo exhibitions include: The St. Louis Art Museum, Abrons Art Center, New York, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, Julius Caesar Gallery, Chicago, and The University of Syracuse, NY. Knight has exhibited and screened her work in group shows including Anti-Establishment at Bard CCS Hessel Museum, the Young Artists' Biennial, Bucharest, the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Werkschauhalle Gallery, Leipzig, the Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation, Biella, Italy, Harvard University, Art in General and the Kitchen, NY. She was a Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Fellow at the Sam Fox Graduate School of Art, Washington University in St. Louis in 2011-2012.
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