Spring 2001 International Artist-in-Residence Program

Rivane Neuenschwander

About the exhibition

Language is at the core of new work by Rivane Neuenschwander. During her residency, the artist created two installations. The first, Omission Points, was a temporary installation that occupied her studio space for only two days. The artist drilled holes into the gallery’s walls, creating a horizon line of negative space. The line did not stop for the architecture—it continued through the casement windows and metal doors of the gallery. With this simple gesture, Neuenschwander implied an interruption and an imminent disruption. The holes seemingly perforated the space, splitting it into a top and a bottom. The holes also referenced language, creating a chain of ellipses, which rather than connecting thoughts, simply gave space for a pause.

Only a trace of Omission Points remains in the gallery—the holes in the windows. For the exhibition on view, Neuenschwander presents a large-scale labyrinth of cardboard boxes. The boxes are only knee-high, so the viewer does not get lost as in a formal garden maze. One can follow the predetermined path or simply climb over the edges. The course leads the viewer to a walled-off space for a video projection. The film, made in collaboration with Brazilian filmmaker Cao Guimarães, shows an army of ants marching across a room each carrying a piece of paper inscribed with text: on one side, “WORD,” on the other, “WORLD.”

Also produced during her residency are photographs of beetles with soap bubbles. Shot from above, they recall geometry and algebraic diagrams. The insects appear in pairs: at times, within a bubble and, at others, separated by its edge. While the arrangement is by chance, the metaphor for human relationships is inescapable. Neuenschwander also presents new sculptures made from empty grapefruit peels. The artist has carved letters of the alphabet into the fruit skins, which are hung from the wall in plastic bags. This containment of language reflects Neuenschwander’s ongoing investigations of control—or lack of control—in nature, in language, in society.

Other works in this cycle