Reception: Thu, Apr 18, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Gallery Hours: Tue – Sat, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
bitforms gallery is pleased to announce a fourth solo exhibition with New York based artist Yael Kanarek.
Best known for a practice that combines multilingualism, storytelling, and Internet culture, Kanarek crafts
spaces in her art that constantly negotiate a perspective of Self that is networked. Absorbing influences as
disparate as sports, high modernism, and contemporary advertising, High Performance Gear features six
major works created in New York, Italy, and Israel. The exhibition marks a debut of new silicone Textworks, a
soft sculpture and computational video pieces. Expanding the notions of popular culture, identity and
perspective, visitors to the exhibition are invited to share their gallery experience with Kanarek over social
media, using Instagram hashtags specific to each artwork.
Articulating a gap between the handcrafted and industrial, Deeply Concentric results from Kanarek’s
experience of Kandinsky’s Color study – Squares with Concentric Rings (1913) in an advertisement for the
Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Inventing Abstraction. The small work on paper measuring
approximately nine by twelve inches is blown up to heroic proportions in ads that cover NYC buildings.
Whimsical in her replication of the advertisement's color, Kanarek's narrative responds to spectacle,
specifically that which handles visual art's distribution as pop branding devices in the service of museums.
The title, Deeply Concentric, comes from first complete English translation of Kandinsky’s seminal text “On
the Spiritual in Art” in 1946 by the Guggenheim Museum: “Deeply concentric, each art is separated from the
other, but on the other hand they are combined by their innermost tendencies.”
The explosively saturated and fluorescent color palette of Rainbow, towards a New Balance (Made in the
USA), is drawn from a pair of athletic shoes belonging to the artist. Its three-dimensional surface uses the
word "white" as a compositional unit that is repeated hundreds of times, in nine languages, as hand-cast
silicone text. Part of Kanarek's Textwork series, which began in 2007, Rainbow navigates the territorial
spaces created by language - in this case, connecting hue to branding and to the globalized use of polymers
to manufacture of durable equipment. Shuffling the physical properties of language, Kanarek also creates a
cognitive interference known as the Stroop affect. "The gap between text and color creates a pause and
allows a white boundless space to emerge in the viewer's mind, recalling Kandinsky's observations in
'Concerning the Spiritual in Art,'" says Kanarek.
The exhibition also includes a computational videoclock installation, Jungle: Lopate vs. Bresnick, which
recounts the story of a casual tennis match in Italy between two of Kanarek's friends, essayist Philip Lopate
and composer Martin Bresnick. Structured to reflect current time, custom software controls the video
playback, synchronizing a myriad of clips and sounds. At the fourth quarter of each hour, the voice of Werner
Herzog describes the jungle of Fitzcarraldo as an unfinished part of creation. Marking the passing of minutes,
days, months and years, Mighty Mouse (also known as the Mouse of Tomorrow) valiantly flies across the
screen. Jeff Buckley’s opening breath from the song "Hallelujah" strikes on the top of each hour. As the
gentlemen play, Kanarek’s collage forms a place of never-ending stasis, one that embodies Herzog’s
experiences in the jungle and resists leisured sports culture. The project was filmed last year during an artist
residency at the Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy.
The videoclock, Swing is also featured in the exhibition, as well as Perpetual Dream Catcher, a sculpture
crocheted out of yarn and rock-climbing ropes, inspired by Leonardo DaVinci's writing on the absurdity of
perpetual motion machines.
A fully illustrated exhibition guide will be available April 18 at the gallery and online.
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 (matter, shape, sound), Kanarek's work examines how verbal signifiers operate
emotionally. Her recent work documents the consciousness shift from the Modernist Self to that which is
Selected for the 2002 Whitney Biennial, past exhibitions of Kanarek's work also include The Drawing Center,
New York; Beral Madra Contemporary Art, Istanbul; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; CU
Museum, Boulder; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University; The Jewish Museum, New York; Exit Art; The
Kitchen; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; LIMN Gallery, San Francisco; Holster Projects, London;
Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh; bitforms gallery, New York; Nelly Aman, Tel Aviv; Boston CyberArts
Festival; HVCCA, Peekskill; Arena 1, Santa Monica; California College of the Arts, San Francisco; Orsini Palace,
Bomarzo; and Sala Uno Gallery, Rome. Kanarek’s work has also been shown in New York at 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 also the
recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation Media Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts;
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. Kanarek holds an M.F.A. from Rensselaer