Elana Herzog: Terra Infirma / The Boiler (Pierogi), New York

Terra Infirma at The Boiler (Pierogi) in Brooklyn, New York, is a two-person exhibition of site-specific work by the artists Linda Herritt and Elana Herzog. In our previous video we had a look at Linda Herritt’s installation, in this video we focus on Elana Herzog’s work that consists of two fabric-embedded surfaces of varying dimensions. One of them is supported by steel shelving posts and leans against the massive brick wall of The Boiler, the other one is mounted directly to the surface of the brick. See the press text below for more information.

Elana Herzog: Terra Infirma / The Boiler (Pierogi), New York. Opening reception, November 14, 2014.

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Excerpt from the press release:

Over the last two decades, Elana Herzog has been the subject of museum surveys and solo exhibitions in over twenty cities in the U.S. and Europe. “Valence” is one of her single most ambitious projects to date. It was begun during a residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in which the artist immersed herself in the legacy of the Bauhaus. “I’m particularly inspired by intrepid Anni Albers, who expressed so much through textile design and weaving,” says Herzog. “She made the most of what she had, at a time when other more ‘fine-art’ related materials were off limits due to her gender.”

Here, Herzog engages the cavernous space of The Boiler with two fabric-embedded surfaces of varying dimensions (each roughly 17 x 17 feet)—one a warmer feeling, scrap-wood surface, the other a cooler, white sheet rock (one of the artist’s signature materials). The former is supported by steel shelving posts and leans against the massive brick wall near this industrial space’s eponymous defunct boiler; the latter is mounted directly to the surface of the brick. As one surface overlaps another on a scale almost two stories high, newly inter-woven solid surface areas become obscured—while other, unexpected, pre-existing architectural rhythms are revealed. The level of risk and play and formal rigor involved—on such a grand scale—is testament to Herzog’s familiarity with engaging pre-existing architecture. Herzog learned, only shortly before installation, that the Boiler, itself, was used to heat water for dying fabrics and dates back to 1934.

To better implement this abstract mise-en-scene on such a large scale, the artist first plotted out individual sections in AutoCad, fabricated them in her studio, and later transferred them (with a week’s worth of hands on labor) on to the site. As a result, virtual and physical labor become indistinguishable in this intersection of soft (pink) textile, industrial hardware (areas of metal that are several stories high), and 1,600 square feet of terra-cotta brick.

Elana Herzog lives and works in New York City. Her work has been the subject of numerous museum and gallery exhibitions, included “De-Warped and Un-Weft,” a survey of Herzog’s work since 1993, at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Missouri in 2009; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (CT); Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, NY); the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Herzog has been awarded residencies at the Josef and Annie Albers Foundation (CT), the Gertrude Contemporary (Melbourne, Australia), Farpath Foundation (Dijon, France), and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program Residency (NY). Herzog has been awarded the Anonymous Was A Woman Award in 2009, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 2007, and the NYFA Individual Artist?s Fellowship in 2007 and 1999. She currently teaches at Yale University.

Photo set on Flickr:
Linda Herritt and Elana Herzog at The Boiler, Pierogi, NYC

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