LMAKgallery is pleased to present its first project with artists Caroline Woolard, Helen Lee, Lika Volkova, and Alexander Rosenberg, entitled Carried on Both Sides. The organizing insistence of Carried on Both Sides is that imperial forms long outlive the empire from which they were generated.
A look today around any campus or collection of government buildings will reveal classical columns. American currency too contains many of these icons; the nation’s symbol, the bald eagle, can likewise be traced back to the myth of the founding of Rome. The @ symbol comes from a graphic representation of a Roman vessel, the amphora, written as an abbreviated ‘a’ with a flourished tail surrounding it. Originally used as containers to transport tributes from the periphery back to Rome, amphorae conveyed goods like olive oil, grains and other remittances. At the height of roman power, so many of these amphorae populated Rome that they were discarded into a landfill of shards and handles, still visible today at Mt. Testaccio. This project directs our attention to the imperial residues of our contemporary digital world, chiefly the ubiquitous @ symbol.
Using this imperial legacy of the @ symbol as a provocation, the artists have crafted new imperial artifacts. The project consists of three exhibitions over the next year. Each exhibition will reveal a unique addition to the project. At Lesley Heller Workspace, clay amphorae are transmuted into glass by Alexander Rosenberg; hand pulled glass murrina by Helen Lee recall the pixelated imagery of digital computing; a single-channel video by Caroline Woolard records an hourglass which never runs out; kevlar forms by Lika Volkova drape from the walls. At LMAKgallery, the famous iconography of Romulus and Remus’s caretaker, the she-wolf, inspires a table whose udders now are time-keeping devices by Caroline Woolard; stately columns may be disassembled and reassembled as sculptural furniture; a water clock in the form of an eye marks time as the pupil sinks. At The Knockdown Center, an immersive video and sound installation by Caroline Woolard and Alexander Rosenberg reverberates throughout the former glass factory; glass weights by Lika Volkova rest on the chests of performers on the floor; the sound of waves crashing is produced mechanically by a thousand small glass marbles, held in a glass frame that see-saws above; a sculpture by Helen Lee.
Carried on Both Sides is a three-part immersive installation that uncovers the ancient history of the @ symbol. Featuring carved wooden columns, hand blown glass amphorae, glass murrina, a single-channel video, and soft sculptures made of kevlar, this project questions how present logics of freedom and exchange carry with them resonances of past imperial lives. The works on view are the result of three years of collaboration between Caroline Woolard, Helen Lee, Alexander Rosenberg, and Lika Volkova that has been generously supported by residencies at Pilchuck and UrbanGlass; this collaboration is the subject of a documentary by PBS / Art21 for New York Close Up.
Carried on Both Sides: Encounter One will be presented at Lesley Heller Workspace from November 2 – December 17, 2011; Carried on Both Sides: Encounter Two will be presented at LMAKgallery from January 19 – February 25, 2018; Carried on Both Sides: Encounter Three will be presented at the Knockdown Center in the summer of 2018.
Caroline Woolard (born 1984, Rhode Island) co-creates projects and institutions at the intersection of art, technology, and political economy. Recent commissions include Listen, Wave Pool, Ohio (2018); WOUND, Cooper Union, New York, NY (2016); Capitoline Wolves, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2016), and Exchange Café, MoMA, New York, NY (2014). Woolard’s work has been celebrated by the National Endowment for the Arts, where she delivered the 50th Anniversary keynote (2017) and in New York Close Up, the PBS / Art21 documentary series (2017). Recent scholarly writing on her work has been published in the Brooklyn Rail (2017); Artforum (2016); Art in America (2016); The New York Times (2016); and South Atlantic Quarterly (2015). Recent visiting artist lecture appointments include the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL); Williams College (Williams, MA); the University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, CA); the Malmo Art Academy (Malmo, Sweden); University of Wisconsin at Madison (Madison, WI); and the Royal Danish Academy (Copenhagen, Denmark). Woolard holds a BFA from Cooper Union (Sculpture, 2007) and is a recipient of the Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund (OurGoods, 2010-2012), the Antipode Scholar-Activist Project Award (Community Economies Collective, 2016), and the Theo Westenberger Estate Fund (2015). Woolard has been named one of 11 Artists to Transform the Art World (2017), has been listed in the WIRED Smart List (2013), ArtNet’s Top 20 Female Artists (2015), and in the Top 100 Women for the Commons by the Peer to Peer Foundation (2014).