Adam Fuss on His Cameraless Images and Experimenting with Live Snakes
THE ARMITAGE GONE DANCE EXQUISITE CORPSE PROJECT
More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.
The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.
Photographer Adam Fuss places living and non-living objects, including balloons, flowers, water, babies, animal entrails, and skulls, directly onto Cibachrome paper and exposes them to light, making photograms that explore imperfection, intimacy, nostalgia, and the passage of time. In the 2010 series “Home and the World,” Fuss’s gelatin silver print photograms and large-scale daguerreotypes record groupings of live snakes on stained mattresses and a close up of a vagina. Snakes and Ladders (a Jain morality-teaching tool developed in India during the 16th century), ancient mythology, and the work of social symbolism scholar Carl Schuster all inform Fuss’s poetic imagery.
British, b. 1961, London, United Kingdom, based in New York, New York
John Gordon Gauld’s playful, figurine-populated still life paintings are references to the tension between the organic and the manmade, and sometimes-tragicomic triumph of the artificial over the natural. Gauld is particularly influenced by the long tradition of still life and vanitas painting, popularized by Old Master painters from 14th through 17th centuries. He does, however, eschew the dark palettes of these forebears in favor of bright and vivid colors. Natural light is a key component in these paintings, which feature both interior and outdoor scenes. Gauld paints with egg-based tempera and oil paints, and is known for a precise and photorealistic style. He sometimes titles his works after literary passages.
American, b. 1977, based in New York, New York