Queer Spirits and other invocations...

AA Bronson
October 28 – December 17, 2011

From front to back:

 

Invocation of the Queer Spirits (Berlin), 2011

Candles, blankets, nuts, incense, various objects
AA Bronson's best-known project is perhaps his series of performative healing rituals and séances, Invocation of Queer Spirits (2008-2009), for which he collaborated with Toronto artist Peter Hobbs to stage spiritual experiences in five locations across North America. 

 

Black Red Gold (in collaboration with Ryan Brewer), 2011 

Color inkjet prints on paper. Set of 3

 

Red Shroud #1 (in collaboration with Ryan Brewer), 2011

Fluorescent acrylic on linen
The work is am imprint of AA Bronson's body, rendered in acrylic paint on linen.

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Black Red Gold (in collaboration with Ryan Brewer), 2011 (detail; center)

Color inkjet prints on paper. Set of 3

 

Red Shroud #1 (In Collaboration With Ryan Brewer), 2011 (back)

Fluorescent acrylic on linen
The work is am imprint of AA Bronson's body, rendered in acrylic paint on linen.

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Red Shroud #1 (in collaboration with Ryan Brewer), 2011 (back)

Fluorescent acrylic on linen
The work is am imprint of AA Bronson's body, rendered in acrylic paint on linen.
 
Project for M, 2010 (right)
Inkjet on Fabriano Artistico Traditional White paper
3 color photographs as one set

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

From left to right:
 
Mirror, 2008/2009

Copper, silver 999, quartz crystals, obsidian, cotton rope (8 pieces)

 
J. X. Williams
Measuring Stick, 2008
Wood, cloth measuring tapes, metal, beeswax
 
Cabine (In Collaboration With Scott Treleaven), 2008
Cotton, wood, gold-leaf
 

J. X. Williams

Black & Red, 2008

Two brooms

 
J. X. Williams
Spirit Sticks (objects to be grasped), 2008 
Set of 7 found objects, each leaning against the wall, Wood, steel, rubber, straw

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

We Are The Revolution (Silver, Black, Black, Black Diamonds), 2011

We Are The Revolution (Flesh, Brown, Brown, Copper Diamond Dust), 2011

We Are The Revolution (Red, Black, Black, Black Diamonds), 2011

We Are The Revolution (Green, Brown, Brown, Diamonds), 2011

All works: Serigraph and titanium-coated diamonds on paper

This suite consists of three variously colored serigraph editions, entitled We Are The Revolution, which originate with a photograph taken during a séance and healing ritual act, of Bronson wearing a feathered buttplug. 

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Queer Spirits and other invocations...

AA Bronson
October 28 – December 17, 2011
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What role can the artist-become-shaman play in today’s social life? This is the question that AA Bronson has returned to repeatedly over the course of his work.

 

Brooms, a tent, a mallet, mirrors… disparate and incongruous, these objects and accessories are not intended as part of a mise-en-scène; they present the possibility of another way, in which the artist orchestrates body and spirit, each in relation to the other.

 

A tent—a collaboration with Scott Teleaven—raises itself in the space, like a spectre of something found in an English garden of a bygone age, with a fortune-teller languishing before his audience. Invisible spirits might appear at any moment: our soothsayer holds aloft a magic wand to summon them, or to drive them away. Tibetan-looking mirrors, resembling those used by the State Oracle of the Dalai Lama, reflect the scene.  Are these ritual objects purely artificial or decorative? Not at all! They lay a ground-work for connecting nature, body and spirit. They participate in the work of creating relationship, using a physical practice of rituals invoking spirit—or more precisely “queer spirits”—in the same way that the images from We are the Revolution (2011) bear dynamic witness to the ritual act.

 

Far from simple posturing, AA Bronson’s shamanism is formed from sincere and emotional reflection on the issues of collective trauma, individual and collective memory, and the memory of those lost; also exclusion and violence in the contemporary world, whether symbolic, physical or social, especially that which habitually follows the ill, the weak, the abused, and those ostracized for their sexual orientation.

 

By invoking “queer” spirits in ritual performance, the artist does not seek redemption, but rather initiates a path of intercession between the tangible, physical world and the impalpable world of the spiritual. This body/spirit dichotomy is the focal point around which this exhibition is conceived. While exploring the possible manifestation of the intangible, it considers the act itself, the performative and sexual dimensions of the ritual and of the invocation of spirits, simultaneous with the creation of a physical work. 

 

Gathered here are images of ritual actions led by AA Bronson in the company of other artists: Notably Ryan Brewer, who co-created Black Red Gold (2011), conceived as a series of actions, each, in abandoning the past and transcending the self, a leap towards the future. Similarly, Flesh of Our Flesh (2011), the floor painting that resulted from a collaboration with Elijah Burgher, shows the very location of the invocation, the delineation of the ritual space, and the symbols that were applied in the course of the action.

 

Beyond the spiritual, a physical dimension reveals itself, making marks with bodily movement. By the way they materialize, these marks reconnect the mental with surface, or the world of appearances. Precisely because they are nothing but appearances, they cannot reproduce reality; on the contrary, they produce a partial or imprecise representation of the body, such as the “body prints” that the artist has made during different periods of his life.

 

Between cathartic role and artistic formula, AA Bronson’s shamanism closes in upon the magic realm. But be careful: not satisfied with questioning beliefs and certainties, he challenges neutrality itself. The magic is here… intrinsically political!

 

Frédéric Bonnet

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