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SCREENS, a project about “community” 
January 5 – February 3, 2019 
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 5, 6-8 PM

Essex Flowers is pleased to announce Savannah Knoop’s first solo exhibition in New York.

SCREENS, a project about “community” centers on a group of regular bathers that co-exist at the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street. The exhibition frames the body and mind as a filtering system, exploring the slippage between notions of reaction and response, and questioning the solidity of such identity states as “insider” and “outsider.”

Open since 1892, the current owners of the baths, Boris and David, operate two separate businesses under one roof, running their respective enterprises on alternate weeks. Each week maintains its own specific social codes and business practices. SCREENS, a project about “community” explores the dynamics of the Boris weeks, which are driven by cash-, verbal-, and gray-market negotiations. Within the context of the ever-fluctuating East Village neighborhood, this mode of business operation has fostered a particular and thriving mixed social space based in a bathing culture of “regulars.” Knoop’s practice as a “regular” manifests in a short film shot during operating hours at the baths, as well as a series of partition screen sculptures, prints on aluminum, and a video-viewing booth.

To make the privacy partition screens, Knoop rolls and weaves the news; literally restructuring the volumes of information about current events through a time-honored process often associated with domestic work. They subsequently encase the weavings in aqua-resin, burnishing them with oil. Slippery and chunky, these objects materialize metaphorical ways of processing experience: filtration, projection, deflection, and blocking. Inside the patinated privacy booth, visitors can watch Knoop’s video about the baths. Shot over the course of many months, the video blends fact and fiction, capturing different moments of regulars in their individual bathing routines and revealing glimpses of particular social codes and implicit rules. Through this exhibition, Knoop invites viewers to become, however temporarily, imagined members of this ever-shifting community.

Savannah Knoop: SCREENS, a project about “community”  is supported by Owen Duffy.

Artist Bio:
Savannah Knoop is a New York-based artist who insights strategies of permission through writing, performance, and object-making. In 2001, Savannah Knoop founded the clothing line Tinc, which ran until 2009, with creative partner Parachati Pattajotti. From 2009-2016 they co-hosted the monthly queer audio-visual party WOAHMONE. They earned their BA from CUNY BA under the mentorship of Vito Acconci, and their MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture + Extended Media. They have shown and performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art, ICA Philadelphia, SculptureCenter, Movement Research, Virginia Commonwealth University, Alfred University, Yale, CAVEDetroit, Essex Flowers, and ACP in Los Angeles. In 2007, they published the memoir titled Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy (Amy Scholder, Seven Stories Press) cataloguing their experiences of playing their sister in law's (Laura Albert's) writing persona and avatar JT Leroy. In 2018, it became the major motion picture Jeremiah Terminator Leroy co-written and co-executive produced by Knoop and director Justin Kelly, starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern. Knoop has studied dance and martial arts for over twenty years, and they are currently a purple belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu under Marcelo Garcia.

Curator Bio:
Owen Duffy is an art historian, writer, and curator, who has published with ArtReview, Momus, frieze, Artforum, CURA., Ceramics Monthly, Art & Education, among others, and has presented his research at such institutions as the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and LASANAA Live Art Hub, Kathmandu. He has been a visiting critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, and through Frame Finland and earned his PhD from Virginia Commonwealth University where he completed a dissertation on the topic of The Politics of Immateriality and "The Dematerialization of Art." In fall 2018, he curated Common Forms at PEANA in Monterrey, Mexico. He is a member of Essex Flowers.


Away is Another Way of Saying Here
January 5 – February 3, 2019 
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 5, 6-8 PM

Away is Another Way of Saying Here presents recent ceramic and sound works by Irini Miga. Through subtle material interventions, Miga plays with the perceptual space between artwork and viewer, considering the threshold at which an object or gesture demands attention.

In Notes on Origin, Miga replicated marine debris found on the Miami shoreline in hand-sculpted clay and installed the pieces on the gallery wall in formation of the celestial constellation Orion. In a material disjuncture between plastic waste and hand-crafted earthenware, she cites the cautionary tale of the giant hunter in Greek mythology, who was slain by Gaia after claiming he would kill every animal on the planet. Miga draws a connection between the physical origin of the marine debris, Miami--a city predicted to be under water in less than 100 years due to climate change--to the mythological origins of Orion, whose arrogance towards other life forms ultimately caused his own demise. An adjacent sound work emanates from the closet within the gallery space, an area typically designated to store things out of sight. Referencing white noise machines that some use to meditate or fall asleep, the sound recording is also collected from the Miami shoreline. Ocean sounds are layered with human-made noises, suggesting that the ocean is no longer a refuge from human impact, as the waters fill with plastic waste.

Another series appears inconspicuously around the space of the gallery, taking form as an assortment of cleaning tools made of meticulously sculpted ceramics and brass. This series captures the often invisible and repetitive labor of cleaning, putting on display what might otherwise be tucked away in the storage closet. In a final light-handed intervention, one encounters the impression of a single fingerprint sunken into the wall. Made from unglazed ceramic and seamlessly fitted into the wall’s surface, the remaining mark is barely perceptible from a distance of more than a few feet. It is the record of a motion--of pointing to, pointing at, pointing out--but the object of the pointing is noticeably absent. It is simply the gesture that persists in memorial of an understated action.

Together these works propose a repository of gestures, memorializing what has been discarded or put out of sight. Through this collection of ignorables, Miga reminds us that the concept of ‘away’ does not exist, as what we cast aside remains with us. Her works capture the aesthetic conditions of that which often disappears in plain sight: tiny fragments of discarded material, a single fingerprint, cleaning tools, and the ambient sound from an urban shoreline. The aura present in the labor and attention required to recreate these easily dismissible items weighs counter to the humbleness of each work’s first impression. In reverberation of an unstable time, Miga’s micro-interventions highlight the unfixed nature of appearances to those who pay close attention.

Irini Miga grew up in Greece, a country on the border of what is commonly perceived to be East and West, where the distant past, present and desired future converge. She uses sculpture, film, sound, text, and elements of everyday performativity to examine the ways in which we navigate and perceive our environments. Her work engages with the memory of place, bridging between points of origin and the present. She works with humble, unmonumental gestures to find value and importance in things otherwise neglected and overlooked. Miga studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, as well as Central Saint Martins College in London, and received her MFA from Columbia University, New York on a Fulbright grant. Recent international exhibitions include: Reflections (solo show)  at Atlanta Contemporary, in Atlanta, GA; Scraggly Beard Grandpa, at Capsule Shanghai, in Shanghai, China; When You Were Bloom, at Thierry Goldberg Gallery in New York, NY; Selections by Larry Ossei-Mensah at Elizabeth Dee Gallery in New York, NY; Tomorrow's Dreams, at Neuer Essener Kunstverein in Essen, Germany; Marginalia, at The Drawing Center in New York, NY; The Equilibrists, organized by the New Museum in New York, NY and the DESTE Foundation in Athens, Greece, and shown in the Benaki Museum in Athens. Irini Miga lives and works in New York.