Opening Friday, March 7th, from 6PM - 9PM
On view through Saturday, April 12th
Harold Mendez’s exhibition but I sound better since you cut my throat is a meditation on two liminal characters who seek to transcend boundaries, borders, and the trappings of place – revealing the slippages between memory, fact, and fiction. Working from his 2010 publication Texts for Nothing, Mendez utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to sculpture, installation, photography, collaborative projects, drawing, and text, employing the strangeness of fiction, poetics, and politics, interwoven with personal meditations and memory fragments. Mendez’s Texts for Nothing refers to Samuel Beckett’s thirteen short prose pieces “Texts for Nothing” (1950-1952), which are a series of fractured dialogues, rhetorical questions and uncompleted narratives, representing Beckett’s turn from Modernism to Postmodernism. Mendez’s Texts for Nothing are a fictional conversation in the form of a tragicomedy. Two characters, Braille Teeth (from a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat) and Nobody (from the film Dead Man by Jim Jarmusch), share a difficult journey across a landscape abstract and universal yet sharply particularized, speaking through a series of appropriated texts such as Jean-Paul Sartre, TV on the Radio, Deadwood, Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Shadi Abdel Salam, Ralph Ellison, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, and other sources.
The show expands from this text to a combination of objects, images and installations in a varied use of media. In I’m not always fitting (After Koudelka) Mendez creates a large-scale hand-made negative with soot of a shrouded monument onto a two-way reflective glass tempered panel also known as Cliché-Verres, a French translation meaning glass picture. In other ethereal works such as If we bring our specters into the open, it may save us from disaster or but I sound better since you cut my throat utilizes pinhole photography to disclose issues of visibility and obscurity. Mendez also uses materials such as window screens and spray enamel over large-scale photographs in Become first facts toward which later a little town looks back to produce a “veiling” effect of a witnessed event.
Speaking to the many ways that individuality and identity is constructed, fragmented, abstracted and made unintelligible, Mendez creates a visual vocabulary grounded in varied literary and philosophical traditions including Postmodernist literature, contemporary poetry, and American fiction. but i sound better since you cut my throat is a line in a poem (Rock the Party, Fuck the Smackdown) by Fred Moten, author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, who will be contributing a new essay to Mendez’s exhibition publication and will speaking at threewalls on March 13, 2014 at 7 PM. The Chicago theater artist Dado will be directing a reading of Mendez Texts for Nothing, during the run of the exhibition, with a date to be announced.
In the Project room, taisha paggett and Ashley Hunt will create a “black box,” a darkened installation that builds upon their recent “Par Course” projects. Working under the general research categories of movement, thought and politics, Hunt and Paggett’s Par Course works consist of choreographic installations, offering scripts, prompts and reflections to a viewer in order to engage their sensory and political presence, often based upon themes, images and actions generated in workshops.
Harold Mendez received his M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007, B.A. from Columbia College in 2000 and studied at the University of Science and Technology, Ghana, West Africa in 1999. He is currently an Artist-In-Residence at the Core Program, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Mendez has participated in residencies at Ox-bow; Experimental Sound Studio; Headlands Center for the Arts; Lighthouse Works and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. In 2008, he was featured in a 12 X 12: NEW ARTISTS / NEW WORK exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship in 2013 and the 3Arts award in 2012. His work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum Harlem; the Museum of Modern Art / PS1; the Renaissance Society and the Knoxville Museum of Art among others. Reviews of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Artforum and Frieze Magazine. His work is in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum, Harlem. Forthcoming projects include Towards the nature of light, a public commission with Franz Mayer of Munich – Architectural Glass for the Chicago Transit Authority; The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas; Headlands Center for the Arts, Artist-In-Residence / Alumni New Works; Phantoms in the Dirt, Museum of Contemporary Photography; Open Sessions, The Drawing Center, NYC; and he will be travelling to Medellin, Colombia to research national archives on La Violencia at the Biblioteca Publica Piloto, 2014.
Ashley Hunt uses image, object and performance-based strategies to engage the ideas of social movements, modes of learning and public speech. His work is often concerned with questions of power and the ways that some people have more, others have less, and what can be done about that. In addition to his ongoing collaboration with Taisha Paggett, Ashley’s works include the performance, Notes on the Emptying of a City, the multi-platform Communographat Project Row Houses, the collaborative 9 Scripts from a Nation at War, and hisCorrections Documentary Project, which addresses the politics of contemporary prison expansion in the US. Recent exhibitions and performances include the 2012 Biennial of the Hammer Museum, Sinopale 4 in Sinop, Turkey, and exhibitions and performances at the Museum of Modern Art, Beta Local in San Juan, and Woodbourne State Correctional Institute in upstate New York. Ashley lives in Los Angeles, where he co-directs the Program in Photography and Media at California Institute of the Arts.
taisha paggett makes things and is interested in what bodies do. She believes language is tricky, thoughts are powerful, and that people are most beautiful when looking up. Her work for the stage, gallery and public sphere include individual and collaborative investigations into questions of the body, agency, and the phenomenology of race, and has been presented nationally and abroad, including The Studio Museum in Harlem, Danspace at St Mark’s Church (New York), Defibrillator (Chicago), The Off Center (San Francisco), Public Fiction (Los Angeles), BAK Basis Voor Actuele Kunst (Utrecht, NL), and will also be included in the upcoming Whitney Biennial. As a dancer she’s had the honor of working extensively with David Roussève, Stanley Love Performance Group, Fiona Dolenga-Marcotty, Vic Marks, Cid Pearlman, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Baker-Tarpaga Projects, Rebecca Alson-Milkman, Kelly Nipper, Meg Wolfe, Ultra-red, and with Ashley Hunt in their ongoing collaborative project, “On movement, thought and politics.” She lives in Los Angeles and travels to Chicago where she teaches at the Dance Center of Columbia College. She holds an MFA from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and is co-instigator of the LA-based dance journal project, itch.