Sexually acute, Julianne Swartz’ work trades in the rough interface between body and building. Architecture and its ordered, ordering imperative is consistently pitted against human frailty and our irrational impulses. The body and its sensorial extensions – the probing eye and the disembodied voice – are set loose to subversive, often poignant, ends. Interior and exterior, public displays and private activities, transcendence and abjection, containment and leakage: these seeming opposites exist in an uneasy, evocative alignment in Swartz’s work, informing and transforming one another. (Charles Labelle, Frieze, March 2005)
Josée Bienvenu gallery is pleased to present Julianne Swartz’s second solo exhibition in New York. Swartz’s new work body of work uses sound and movement to articulate an architecture of frailty. The sculptures embody metaphors for tender communication, the fragility of the body, and the vulnerability and potency of the human heart.
The exhibition includes eight kinetic sculptures and three sound works. Made with clock motors, steel wire, and cement, the sculptures carry suspended text, objects or tiny lights. Wire structures amplify and morph the motion of each second passing: measured time becomes figural movement. The carefully calibrated weight and shape of each sculpture draws its movement: awkward, spasmodic, trembling or swaying.
Two sound works build on material Julianne Swartz used earlier this season in Affirmation, a building-wide installation at the Tate Liverpool Museum. Open is a simple wood box with a hinged lid, about the size of an adult torso. Upon opening the lid, numerous voices escape. The voices become louder and louder, until silenced by closing the lid. Body is a network of 24 tiny speakers that sporadically emit barely audible whispering voices.
In the project room, she collaborates with inventor Matteo Ames to compose an installation of multiple music boxes. Through the use of robotics and mechanics, a familiar children’s song gradually becomes a dissonant symphony.