Reception: Tuesday, April 12, 6 – 8 PM
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM & Sunday 12 – 6 PM
Tangerine sky. A ray illuminates my neck. It stays there. Time suspended. I key my notes into the laptop. Letters dispel the handwriting and elude my temper, paper, and the ballpoint pen.
The laptop welcomes the letters and assigns them numbers. Electric-alive, my idiom flickers on the screen. Delighted in the power of computation: Copy, paste, find, replace. CTRL+Z. Power. Speed. I penetrate.
–– Yael Kanarek, A Traveler’s Journal: Faithfully recorded
bitforms gallery presents Kisses Kisses, a retrospective iteration of Yael Kanarek’s World of Awe. This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Since 1994, Kanarek has developed a multimedia narrative and all of its constituent parts––spanning net art, painting, sculpture, performance, and musical composition––ultimately creating a world unto itself. This is the World of Awe. Previously exhibited as a series of browser-based chapters, Kisses Kisses presents twenty years of world-making as a holistic installation, including ephemera and never before seen paintings.
The narrative of World of Awe is conveyed through a lone traveler searching for lost treasure. Anonymous, androgynous, and somewhere between amorphous and human, the traveler is depicted in Kanarek’s paintings from the early nineties, and is the guiding voice in the browser-based works. Crossing through a portal at 419 E 6th Street in Manhattan, the traveler enters into a virtual desert in a perpetual state of dawn and dusk. Throughout World of Awe, we continuously find ourselves confronted with blurring binaries: digital and analogue, virtual and real, masculine and feminine, fine art and craft, fact and fiction.
Rooted in the emergence of internet culture in the nineties, World of Awe is a reflection on the rapidly changing landscape brought about by digital networked technologies at that time. As radical as the accessibility of the internet was in the early nineties, the development of the internet has shaped the formative years of a generation. This generation’s coming of age calls for the latest iteration of World of Awe, which manifests as Kisses Kisses. Across media and time, this body of work negotiates what it means to move, live, and long in the Information Age.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a fanzine with an essay by Kerry Doran and a conversation between Kanarek and co-curator Dylan Kerr will be published. Jennifer Dalton’s 1997 essay “Yael Kanarek’s Love Letters from a World of Awe” will be republished with an addendum by Doran and Kanarek.
–– Kerry Doran
Yael Kanarek’s practice centers on the fundamental hypothesis that language and numerals render reality, and that this reality is an entirely subjective, unified field. Through the shuffling of physical properties that construct our use of language, such as matter, shape, and sound, Kanarek’s work examines how verbal signifiers operate emotionally. Employing modes of authorship such as storytelling and multilingualism, Kanarek manipulates the biographical predisposition of cultural associations. As an Israeli-American, her perception is tempered by an awareness of post-national borderlines. Her work enters spaces of meaning determined by a global network and the negotiation of identity that occurs when confronted with multiple systems. Crossing these sensibilities with her observation of the internet as a network made of language—human and computer—her most recent projects document the consciousness shift from a Modernist self to that which is networked.
Selected for the 2002 Whitney Biennial, exhibitions of Kanarek’s work also include Beral Madra Contemporary Art, Istanbul; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; CU Art Museum, Boulder, CO; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, CA; LIMN Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Holster Projects, London; Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA; Nelly Aman, Tel Aviv; Boston CyberArts Festival; HVCCA, Peekskill, NY; Arena 1, Santa Monica, CA; California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Orsini Palace, Bomarzo, Italy; and Sala Uno Gallery, Rome. Kanarek’s work has also been shown in New York at the Drawing Center, Jewish Museum, Exit Art, The Kitchen, the Museum of the Moving Image, bitforms gallery, Kenny Schachter Contemporary, Silverstein Gallery, Ronald Feldman Gallery, Derek Eller Gallery, A.I.R Gallery, 303 Gallery, and Schroeder Romero Gallery.
In addition to a Rockefeller New Media Fellowship and an Eyebeam Honorary Fellowship, Kanarek is the recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation Media Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts, and commissions from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Turbulence.org, and The Alternative Museum. Kanarek’s distinctions also include residencies at Civitella Ranieri, Harvestworks, and the Mamuta Art and Media Center. In 1999, she founded Upgrade! International, a network of artists and curators concerned with technology and art.
Kanarek holds an MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.