Tamara Kostianovsky, Abacus, 2008, Articles of clothing belonging to the artist, ink, shellac, polyester batting and meat hooks, Each piece: 90×46 x 21 inches, Photo credit: Sol Aramendi. Courtesy of Black and White Gallery (Chelsea).
*The actus reus — sometimes called the external elements of a crime — is the Latin term for the “guilty act” which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the mens rea i.e., the “guilty mind”, produces criminal liability in common law-based criminal law jurisdictions.
BLACK & WHITE GALLERY // Chelsea is proud to present Actus Reus – solo debut exhibition by Tamara Kostianovsky. In Actus Reus, Tamara Kostianovsky extends the cold human gaze to killing. Methodically dissected beef carcasses made out of discarded human clothes are both ethically and aesthetically disturbing. The intense reality of the opened body cannot stop the humans from looking at the killed animal. The looker is not the killer, and some of the power in the relationship therefore lies with the looked-at thing, dead though it is.
Tamara Kostianovsky is a native of Israel. She was raised in Argentina and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA degree from Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1998) and an MFA degree from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2003). Kostianovsky is a recipient of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant and was the finalist for Pew Fellowships in the Arts.
Actus Reus is the second part of a three-part, spring’08 season-long multidisciplinary program The Proper Animal, comprised of three successive solo exhibitions. All three participating artists utilize highly original and sometimes disturbing animal iconography which inevitably brings ethical considerations into play. The program title addresses complex issues of animal propriety in the context of human-animal power relations. Whether each artist operates in an intuitive, sub-ethical way focusing on form rather than meaning remains an open question.