In this body of work by Selby Sohn and Ann Schnake, the artists push on questions of where are bodies begin, end and join each other. With limbs that extend, bodily parts remixed, and poetic prosthetics of questionable utility, they investigate destabilizing concepts of self and how to interrupt the daily claims that capital makes on the body, with an interest in recreating new flows, possibility, healing powers, and re-imagination of other subjectivities and worlds.
Ann, having been a nurse for many years, thinks about the human and collective body in somber terms, reflecting on trauma's particular ability to interrupt. Her prior work is now a phantom limb, the ethereal action of aesthetic practice born out of a physical practice. She stands at a high counter reminiscent of an operating table, suturing, carving, and constructing sculptural elements for magic rooms. Wooden spoons, interconnecting human and animal wooden limbs padded with baby socks and wrapped in string, sprouting hair and found objects, are totems, tools and chimeras. As she carves, she has an overwhelming desire to pump the honey into every room, from the artist’s studio to the county clinic to warming oceans and drying forests — or to at least feed people an empanada this month.
Ann, in all earnestness, embraces the work and presence of Selby Sohn. Selby makes objects and actions on the brink of utility. She places her work in consideration of both the tech industry’s hyperbolic usefulness and in art history’s valuing of objects without utility. Her projects involve wearable sculptures that think largely about queering use. Selby questions how by performing reality, we unhinge subjectivity. Her work has a buoyancy, mindful silliness, and lively engagement of other bodies in the wearing and playing with these tools made strange. In the subterfuge of interrupting the body and thoughts of where it begins and ends, she also provokes subterranean investigations and provocations.
The exhibition has been put together in conversation with each other and our visiting philosopher, Joseph Tanke. Joseph currently teaches philosophy at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa; many artists in the Bay Area know him either through his past teaching and mentoring at CCA, or through his extensive writing on Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, aesthetics, and historical ontology. He is currently examining a philosophical world that includes eastern, feminist, queer and trans formations that might both guide our moment of ecologic crisis and art making and inform our concept of world. How many worlds can one inhabit? Can the understanding of the poetics of one field invigorate the agency of the other? Are there North Stars that illuminate the paths and moons whose orbits we may neglect? He will give a talk at a small event October 1, which we will hope to broadcast widely!
The exhibition will open with a rolling start on October 1, up through November 3. On October 6, the first Friday in October, we will be open from 12-8 PM and serve empanadas throughout the day. On November 3, the first Friday of that month, we will close with a performance of Always Smiling by Selby Sohn from 6-8 PM. In between, we will be open on Fridays & Saturdays from 12-6 PM or by appointment, scheduled through email@example.com, with empanadas and tea served as long as they last.
October 1- November 3, 2023
Rolling opening October 6, 12-8 PM serving empanadas throughout the day.
Closing November 3, 6-8PM celebration and performance of Always Smiling by Selby Sohn.
+ open on Fridays and Saturday’s 12-6 or by appointment
Limb Stories and other Bodily Extensions
Sculptural works by Ann Schnake and Selby Sohn,
in dialogue with philosopher Joseph Tenke
All Smiles, Selby Sohn
Cows Leg, Ann Schnake
Flows and Durations, Ann Schnake
The contemporary form of exodus and the new barbarian
life demand that tools become poetic prostheses liberating us from
the conditions of modern humanity.
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri