Curatorship: Claire Le Restif, with the complicity of François Quintin
The odysseys Caecilia Tripp shares with viewers are bound up with the history of peoples’ migrations. Rendered as journeys as well as ascensions or celebrations, these movements are indeed constantly in motion.
Going Space begins with a sound piece that accompanies viewers as their own steps take on a mounting rhythmic movement towards the exhibition space itself. Like a parade or procession, which is a recurring code in the artist’s work, the show follows a certain thread throughout, that of a fluid geography which starts with the intimacy of portraits showing sleeping readers (Sleeping with Books, 2011-15), continues with an urban context and the reenactment of past performances (Last Song, 2015; Paris Anthem, 2008), and ends in cosmic music and a vortex that is drawn in chalk through the circular dance of several roller-skaters.
Scoring the Black Hole 1 is first a performance, then a cosmic musical composition inscribed on canvas and film. There is neither a beginning nor an end, only the infinite and the unknown. In We Are Nothing but Stardust (2015), the artist alludes to string theory and references the jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. Coltrane played cosmic constellations in his improvisations, which have since been explored by the quantum physics research scientist Stephon Alexander. Scoring the Black Hole reveals and highlights our invisible ties.
Another journey is enacted with a “prepared” bicycle (Music for [Prepared] Bicycle, Score Two: New York, 2015), which starts from the Bronx, passes through Spanish Harlem, and pushes on as far as the Brooklyn Bridge, retracing the history of both the Young Lords, a radical social group founded by young Puerto Ricans in New York and Chicago in the 1960s, and the Black Panthers.
In any case, Going Space is about shifts and movements in history. The history of the construction, fluidity and exceeding of identities is indeed the cornerstone of Tripp’s work. Through the history of music and sound, she offers us some of the construction codes of a multiracial America reinvented through the imagery of hip hop and poetry (The Making of Americans, 2004).
Travel, wandering, being adrift in the world, these artistic and philosophical motifs run throughout the show. From the figure of the flâneur, that idle rambler of urban streets introduced in the early 20th century by the philosopher Walter Benjamin, who praised slowness as opposed to the acceleration of modern life and the expansion of cities, with a tortoise on a leash for a guide (The Turtle Walk, 2011). It is a critical point of view that was extended by Guy Debord in the 1970s with the concept of dérive, drift, which placed the individual at the center of thought, calling into question the meaning of public and private space in the age of capitalism.
In her show, highlighting the last ten years of her work, Tripp shows us that she is a true recorder of the world. She is fashioning a body of work that seems to be the bearer of a belief according to which each of us, in movement and action, has the power to change something. Of course she is creating works of art at a moment of crisis and protestation, when all the reference points and landmarks have been called into question since Ground Zero and following Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and the surge of fundamentalisms of every stripe. Tripp doesn’t limit herself to merely documenting. She designs and records her performances out in the street, always in collaboration with someone else. She long ago abandoned the idea of the studio in order to directly engage with people. Poets, choreographers, musicians, philosophers, historians, physicists, and astronomers are the protagonists or companions in the participative processes that she herself conducts from Paris, Mumbai, New York, the Caribbean, and now Ivry.
She is an artist who is forever on the move, like the wheels of a bicycle whose spokes are the strings of a guitar (Music for [Prepared] Bicycles - bicycle sculpture, 2015), thus transformed into a musical instrument and a revolution.
Tripp is interested in protest movements, civil disobedience and anarchy. Those who defied racial segregation appear everywhere in her work, from the American writer Gertrude Stein and the jazz musician Miles Davis, to the activist Angela Davis and the boxer Muhammad Ali.
The artist is deeply inspired by the Caribbean poet Edouard Glissant, a close friend to whom she has dedicated several films (Making History, 2008), and it is “the poetics of relationship” that enables Tripp’s critical eye to be open to utopias, the invention of new languages, the revelation of dominated cultural codes, and the analysis of social imagery. Tripp is endlessly fascinated by going beyond the question of identity since, as she puts it, “we are not fixed identities.” Because, as Edouard Glissant stresses, “Nothing is True, everything is alive,” like the multiple sounds and identities that resonate in Going Space.
Claire Le Restif
Exhibition film, directed by Bruno Bellec. © Le Crédac, 2016.
In her work, Caecilia Tripp uses film installation, photography and performance, playing with cinematic codes and using forms of re-enactment and repetition that emerge from the collective imagination. She views the latter as a space of transgression of social and cultural boundaries.
Caecilia Tripp has always been interested in the question of construction, fluidity and the surpassing of identities. Influenced by the theme or concept of trickery-a form of cunning resistance, at work in collective rituals, and a means of transgressing social and cultural boundaries-her work is imbued with codes like misappropriation, disguise, reinterpretation and re-enactment.
Seeking out spaces of invention that make it possible to deterritorialize identities, Tripp locates her works in a shifting historic context that lies at the crossroads of globalization and our social imaginations.
Her work has been shown in the following venues: PS1 / MOMA New York, USA; the 7th Gwangju Biennale 2008; the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; the Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, India; the Center of Contemporary Arts, New Orleans, USA; the Zacheta Gallery Warsaw, Poland; the Brooklyn Museum New York, USA; the Bronx Museum New York, USA
With the generous support of Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, India.
Media partnership : Mousse
Sponsoring for the opening : Grolsch