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CONNY (Tanja Nis-Hansen & Niclas Riepshoff) Antonia Nannt
Co-curated by Christina Gigliotti, Sigrid Hermann & Catherine Wang March 11, 2022 – March 26, 2022
Friday – Saturday, 1–6 pm and by appointment
Sleeping In examines notions of safety and rest, and their inextricable relationship to an individual’s most intimate space of a home—a site of shelter, coziness, and domesticity. The artists in this exhibition, CONNY (Tanja Nis-Hansen and Niclas Riepshoff), Antonia Nannt, Tanja Nis-Hansen, Jessy Razafimandimby, and Alison Yip navigate the ideas of comfort and tease out the individual that exists at the contentious bounds of productivity and rest, and wakefulness and slumber.
Tanja Nis-Hansen’s Untitled lends bubbling words to address the inevitable coexistence of labor and rest. The balancing act between exhaustion and regeneration as a necessary condition for an individual to be politically effective was emphatically articulated by Hannah Arendt. The private sphere of regeneration, Arendt explains, has to be distinct from the individual pursuit of material happiness in which the self is defined through acquisitiveness, and by what one consumes. This boundary is, unfortunately, often not so clear.
Works made in rye straw and linen buttons by Jessy Razafimandimby hang as symbolic objects, like harvest wreaths. Harvest wreaths were customarily not intended to be publicly displayed, but rather they function in a domestic setting in which a family ritualistically marked an end of a cycle of toiling labor. Razafimandimby’s work Untitled quietly dozes off nearby. The main motif of Sunshine Plaza (Hubcap) by Antonia Nannt is the sun that rises each day to wake us up, like an ineluctable reminder of the functionalist logic of how we perceive our time and work throughout the day. The sun highlights the conundrum surrounding sleep—its profound uselessness and passivity collide with the immeasurable losses it causes in the time of production, circulation, and consumption.
The paradox of being in want of rest and the oppression of constant exposure through the means of consumption opens the video sequence in CONNY’s work Find Me in the Filling. Locked in a seemingly endless conversation that ebbs and flows as one or the other dozes off, the artist duo finds themselves spiraling through space and infinite television channels from their respective corners of a comfy sofa. This vertigo-like, destabilized state is echoed in Alison Yip’s painting, Most of the Story. In one’s most intimate setting of a bathroom, a robed moon figure gazes into a multi-faceted mirror. As the reflection fails to materialize, one gets the sense that even in the intimate sphere of the home, a defenseless state of ennui persists.
A sleeping person may be in one’s most vulnerable state. This sense of vulnerability extends further when we think about times when restfulness cannot be taken for granted. From Kafka’s The Castle to Tarkovsky’s Solaris, modern awareness of compulsory watchfulness and insomnia has been reiterated to represent the lack of social security that allows safe and sound respite. In such a state of affairs, the wish to rest to one’s heart’s content, to sleep in, may not be such a self-indulgent act despite its idyllic impression. Against the onrushing demands for productivity or consumption, perhaps Sleeping In is an act of defiance.