Rope Series: Alice Vogler

The Present Tense has decided to end our 2011 Rope Series by highlighting a recent work by Alice Vogler.   As many of you know, MEME, the gallery that The Present Tense co-founded in 2009 came to an end in late May.  Vogler was also a co-founder.   She continued to run MEME with Vela Phelan and Dirk Adams after Bradley Benedetti, Philip and I resigned from MEME in June 2010.  Her farewell to the space came in the form of a 24 hour piece.
Vogler began at 7pm on May13th surrounded by a stack of toilet paper, three spools of white mason string and seven white bottles of water.  She wrapped the string around the toilet paper to create a rope.

Norfolk Street visited her throughout the night, peering through the windows and offering her gifts.  This ritual began with the first exhibition held at MEME.  The neighborhood was always eager to participate in what was happening in the space.

Vogler describes the rope that accumulated on the floor as an umbilical cord, connecting her to the space.

She finished constructing the rope around 5:30pm on May 14th.  The rope became a nest that Vogler rested in.  When she woke up, Dirk Adams and Vela Phelan wrapped the rope around MEME while Alison Adams helped Vogler wrap the rest of the rope around her body.  People were invited into the space to witness this action.

After Vogler was encased by the rope, she engaged in a litany of sorts, reciting all of the exhibitions that had taken place at MEME.  MEME showed over 200 artists in its 2 year history, making this an overwhelming task for anyone, especially the sleep deprived.  As Vogler recited the names of the artists and shows, she slowly untangled herself from the rope.  As the rope fell to the floor, it was revealed that the end was tied around Vogler’s waist.  She ends the piece by cutting the rope, releasing MEME.*

Alice Vogler’s work center’s around the physical and mental healing processes that exist in individual’s lives and her own day-to-day life.  She is interested in investigating what heals: the process, that object, or the ritual.  Most recently she has been working with the element of anticipation.  She has been investigating to what extent anticipation changes how time is experienced.  The viewer is always an essential element in her work.

Alice received her Bachelors of Fine Arts form Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland Oregon, and her Masters of Fine Arts form the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tuffs University in Boston Massachusetts.  She co-owned and curated MEME Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 2009-2011. She has shown her work in many performance events over the last 10 years including:  Rough Trade in Chicago, Illinois, LUMEN Festival in Stanton Island, New York, Tremor Festival in Bogotá, Columbia, OPEN in Beijing, China, and Transmuted in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

* The MEME space (55 Norfolk St. in Central Square Cambridge, MA) began as 55 Gallery in 2008 and was passed on to us.  MEME has been passed on to Mobius Artist Group.  The Present Tense looks forward to seeing how the next cycle of this space will manifest.

Rope Series: Manuela de los angeles

“Dress to fly” reflects on bodies in space, in relation to the external environment.  The intent it to expose the reality in which the individual depends on both the materials and themselves.

2007, Galeria de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, duration: 90 minutes

This site-sensitive installation is composed of a cube of wood, needles, thread, and a cotton dress.  Large quantities of weight are held up by lightweight materials (the body weighs 47 kilos (103 lbs) and is held up by 57 threads of cotton yarn).  The garment is sewn while the body is held up by a wooden cabinet.  Once the garment is complete, the body is cradled by the threads, suspended in a white box.  The body remains in this cocoon anywhere from 1-33 hours.

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

2009, Second Bienniel Comfenalco Antioquia, Belen Library Park, duration: 190 minutes

Manuela de los Angeles (b. 1982 in Mexico City)  She is currently studying to earn her Masters degree in Visual Arts at the UNAM.  She has worked as a Curatorial Assistant in addition to showing her work in Mexico, Colombia, Italy and Spain.

Rope Series: Lewis Gesner

“I use rope and string often, because it is a simple material which allows great control (few moving parts) as well as flexibility. It is a direct use as well, often when pulled tightly, giving the the most direct path to what is at the other end. To pull, to bind, to control, to suspend, these are all simple or atomic functions which use of string or rope allows an unmediated experience of. It is an obvious and simple choice for many purposes that might involve exploring rudimentary performance concerns.” – Lewis Gesner

excerpt from “Voice Throttle,”  2010  location: Nanhai Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

This was an illustration of Gesner’s ideas concerning simple actions during a lecture.  The artist uses voice and rope to manipulate sound and mechanism.

excerpt from “Draggin,” 2006  location: KriKri festival, Gent, Belgium

Gesner lead the audience to attach string and sticks to their legs.  Together, the artist and audience walked through streets to next performance area.  The sticks served as plectrums on various street surfaces

Lewis Gesner has been presenting action and performance based work for several decades, and works internationally at various venues. Working toward simplification of means and materials, he follows a path of simple atomic art, or, irreducible matters in presentation. His lives in the US and Taiwan, and is a member of mobius artists group, presently on leave. 

Rope Series: Devrim Omer ADA & Semiha ERDOGAN

“The rope binds.  The rope builds up relationships.  By a single rope, very complex structures can be constructed. If we reverse it; very complex structures can be grown out of just a single rope.  Whole lace is formed with a single piece of rope.” – Devrim Omar ADA & Semiha ERDOGAN

"Lace" 2007 location: handmade lace covering a historic building on Istiklal Street, Istanbul

Devrim Omer ADA and Semiha ERDOGAN feel happiest in nature.  This love has fueled their dedication to refrain from using materials that could hurt nature within their art practice.

They say: “Although existence seems to consist of duality, behind all duality there is a deep,  gentle and esthetic flux.  In this context art is like a journey to the river and the artworks are like the paths that lead to the river.  Spiders, Trees, Time, Natural Energies and Elements are really helping us to understand this.  Making art is like being in a play garden where all the toys that you could ever imagine become real.”

"The Root of Life Tree" 2011 performance about connection with tree created in Turkey

“We realized that in the needlework of life, everything is one and unique.  In this energy system everything is connected with each other and is a whole.

The rope can be both female and male at the same time. While tying a knot or building a construction, the rope passes through its self-created vaginal form with its self-created phallus. It gives birth to a being that consists of itself, different than itself but yet not divergent from itself.”

"Kolay Gelsin" 2007 In a forest in Istanbul

“We have seen the rope explain the relationship between the baby and the mother in mammals very well. The rope coming from the mother (umbilical cord) ties the baby to herself. It transmits all the fundamental substances -including the oxygen- from mother to the baby and it connects baby to life.”

"The Magic of Earth" 2010 a performance about gravity in Spain

“We’ve learnt that; the rope can keep us alive in some of art works and at the same time it can help us to reach deeper level of perception. In other words we can tie our lives to a rope or we can reach deeper level of our existence by the help of a rope. The rope holds us in the thin line between urge of our souls and the urge of our bodies. While tying our lives to a tree, it can help us feel the fascination of gravity.

In brief; the rope makes it easier for us to understand and explain all kinds of information, like the perception of time, a thousand years old ancient knowledge, the major laws of physics, the solar system, atoms quantum physics, social relationships, making love etc.

But the most important thing is: the rope loves us and we love the rope.”

"Kolay Gelsin" 2007 In a forest in Istanbul

Devrim Omar ADA was born in Eskisehir/ Turkey and holds a Master’s Degree from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Institute of Social Sciences, Painting Department, 2008

Semiha ERDOGAN was born in Antalya/ Turkey and graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Architecture Faculty, Industrial Products Design Department, 2009

They are living in a small village in nature where they continue their work on traditional arts, Shamanistic practices and natural phenomena like gravity. They have made several works and participated in exhibitions throughout Europe.

Rope Series: Fernando Ribeiro

"Distensão (Distention)" 2010, location: Curitiba, Brazil

Fernando Ribeiro asks “how do we make an action?” with his work. His work is often simple and linear structure, while remaining open to a wide range of interpretation and development. Ribeiro’s works are based on the person, the body, the own self. By taking responsibility for his actions instead of giving powers to others, Ribeiro believes that the freedom he gives to his witnesses create powerful connections between his body, the audience and the actions he employs.

“In this work the rope has an essential role: to allow distention.  Working with two ropes, one attached to my hand and foot on the right side and the other the left. By means of this rope hooks fixed to the wall so that the ropes go through every move I make. If I pull my arm, my movement is not just one arm, but also the entire fixed rope to my feet.

The rope becomes the link in my action and space, allowing my action to distend the space, so that my every action and movement have consequences across the plot under construction.” – Fernando Ribeiro

Fernando Ribeiro is a performance artist and DJ. Lives and works in Curitiba, south of Brazil. He began his research in performance art in 2000 and presented his first performance, “Eu e o Público” (“Me and the Public”), in 2001. He’s been developing a vast practical and theoretical research on the field, presenting several works, conducting workshops and lectures, fomenting performance art in his city.

Rope Series: Jeffery Byrd

"Silence," 2009, Open Festival, Beijing, China. Photo by Arielle Bier

“I use a lot of ribbon in my work and in earlier pieces I used both rope and string.  These materials are like 3-D lines.  They seem like metaphors for time and space and the path one’s life takes.  Except that with a physical string you can move forward or backwards across that time.  Theseus used string to find his way out of the labyrinth.”

"Silence," 2009, Open Festival, Beijing, China. Photo by Arielle Bier

"Silence," 2009, Open Festival, Beijing, China. Photo by Arielle Bier

"Silence," 2009, Open Festival, Beijing, China. Photo by Arielle Bier

"Silence," 2009, Open Festival, Beijing, China. Photo by Arielle Bier

“In China, I pulled the ribbon from my pocket like a magician as I moved in one direction.  I pushed it into my mouth as I moved back across the same space.  The red ribbon also reminds me of the path inside your body…your guts.”

"10,957 Knots (my 30th birthday)" 1994

“I once tied knots in a long piece of string for every day that I had been alive as of my 30th birthday (10,957 knots).”

"Bath of Venus," 2007, Bone festival, Bern, Switzerland. photo by Martin Rindlisbacher

"Bath of Venus," 2007, Bone festival, Bern, Switzerland. photo by Martin Rindlisbacher

“I used dental floss to change the shape of my face in Bath of Venus.  The road to beauty is paved with ugliness.”

"Countless Days, Endless Nights," 1993, Univ. of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art. photo by Jeff Martin

"Countless Days, Endless Nights," 1993, Univ. of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art. photo by Jeff Martin

“In one of my earliest pieces, a beautiful white rope held bricks suspended above my head.  I was wrapped in black duct tape and displayed like a human sculpture for the duration of the exhibition opening.  When the audience was gone, the tape was cut away and left like a shed skin on the gallery floor.” – Jeffery Byrd

Jeffery Byrd is a performance and video artist who has presented work all over the globe.  He has exhibited in over 75 group exhibitions and 15 solo exhibitions and has performed at such notable venues as Lincoln Center in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.  Byrd has participated in performance and video festivals in major cities throughout the US and in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Columbia, Mexico, Italy and the UK. His art explores the metaphoric potential of the human body the relationships between reality and artifice through video, movement, original music and otherworldly vocals.

Byrd is a frequent lecturer at art schools and universities, including Parson’s School of Design in New York, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  His work has been featured in various books published by Brown & Benchmark, Simon & Schuster, Routledge Press and Rizzoli International.