We were thinking about Clarice Lispector, about her 1977 novel Stream of Life, republished in 1989, and about the possibility for one thing to be a lot of things, so that an examination and re-enactment of Lispector’s writing could take multiple shapes – and at one moment be a magazine, a film, a novel. But to begin with, it’s an exhibition, and one whose origins coincide with the start of the novel – even before that, in its forward, where Hélène Cixous describes Lispector’s writing as made from stops and starts, from sudden redirections mid-sentence built from repetitions, interjections, and fragments (such as the sentence to follow). Like how Cixous argues that Lispector writing “I have to interrupt this because.”, could be read from the point of view of the technique of writing as ‘to go on while following oneself.’ Cixous later points out that, “there is a staging of interruption.”
Sure, we’ve taken some license with this extraction in Staging Interruptions (Stream of Life). But there are several ways of applying the concept of interruption. Such as in relation to flow, a signal of an abrupt end, a punctuation, a bracket, an obstruction or a bifurcation. Actually, we imagine that an interruption can interrupt itself before it even begins – as if the pause is preceding the content, so that an exhibition can consistently stop and start, then restart again, in two parts.
The first of which is a collection of artworks relevant to, or in certain cases, greatly influencing our initial thinking behind this series, such as Hans Bellmer’s amorphous shifting between fragment and sentence, between leg and arm, between female and male.
We were also wondering how an interruption can operate in the same way a camera shutter follows the mechanisms of filmic unfolding, like Ann Craven’s animative paintings of the moon, or Amy Granat and Olivier Mosset’s collaborative sixteen millimetre film strip – rendering physical film both as material and mode, a still image turned into motion turned into a still, interrupted.
Life and art interrupted by one another is likewise indicated with in a bedtime story read by Abel Ferrara, during which he is constantly interrupted by the sounds of the restaurant in Little Italy where the story of his favorite novel by Hemingway is being read; and with an extract from a film portrait of Tom Jarmusch by Marion Naccache, a still image by Gilles Delmas; and centrally, a blue monoprint by Derek Jarman rendered near the end of the artist’s life and in near blindness, here marking a gap between thoughts. Philomene Pirecki documents the layers associated to painting production, reception, and documentation in an interruptive process that interjects upon its own self.
Demonstrating a series of discursive interjections, the recorded voice of Reggie Watts intersperses non-sequiters over and throughout a corpus advertising text written by Miet Warlop. G.T. Pellizzi most closely follows the process described by Cixous in interrupting himself with his own work, a double iteration of a graphic series based on the movements of financial markets that bear formal similarity to conceptual art practices; while Marianne Vitale’s works on canvas are relevant to post-minimalism, across an auto-interrupted surface made of repurposed American shingles.
A key thread that links seemingly disparate sections of the show is based on the first page of the 1989 reprint of Lispector’sStream of Life, is a quote by Michel Seuphor, in which the early abstraction theorist argues that there is a type of work “where trace becomes existence,” here imagined by Azzedine Saleck’s invitation for audience to toss a collection of white pearls from their silver receptacle to the gallery floor. Earlier in the same quotation, Seuphor proposes that “There ought to exist a painting totally free of dependence on figure – on the object,” here articulated with the monochromatic photograms of artist and writer Nicolas Garait-Leavenworth, who shifts between formal abstraction with a juxtaposition of appropriated text material. Eslewhere in the show, Seuphor is represented by the journal he co-founded and produced between 1929 and 1931 in Paris, Cercle et Carré.
A structural element of Southard Reid has been painted yellow for a work by Olivier Mosset, Yellow Beam (2014), reiterating a relationship between he and Ann Craven, initiated by Sarina Basta in 2008 at Sculpture Center in New York, at which Craven painted over Mosset’s yellow stripes,Golden Showers(2007) with pink ones forAgainst the Stream(2008) the title appropriated from a Barbara Cartland novel. While Lætitia Sadier performs a grouping of songs for the opening, interrupting the view of the show with its sound.