Throughout her practice, Emily Roysdon’s multidisciplinary approach to art making has incorporated photography, printmaking, performance, and an extensive history of collaboration. For her first solo exhibition in New York, Positions brings together a body of work that culminates around a dialectic consideration of language, choreography, and political representation.
In the artist’s words, “To take a position is both choreographic and discursive.“ This, alongside a consideration of the formal and public square, is the frame for Roysdon’s recent projects. Positions presents a series of three works that are defined by a short-term and improvisational working method with a focus on developing and articulating a vocabulary of movement while applying gesture to shifting concepts of site. Created specifically for her exhibition at Art in General, Roysdon produced three large silkscreened rectangular panels that lean—using the room as armature and exploring the weight of an image. Positions, for which the exhibition is titled, explores the intersection between figure and ground, the logic of the grid, and the repetition and accumulation of ungrounded figures.
Also included in the exhibition is Sense and Sense (2010), a site-specific project that the artist produced in Sergels Torg, a public square in Stockholm, Sweden. Sergels Torg is many things to the city—most notably, the site for all planned political protests and the de facto image of the city; its black and white triangular pattern coming to symbolize the city and the idea of the city. Approaching the site itself, Roysdon conceived of the squar e as both a panopticon and an abstraction, provoking questions about planned use and the representation of ‘free movement’. Subsequently, Roysdon collaborated with performance artist MPA to produce a site-specific performance from which she developed a photographic installation and a video diptych.
Building upon this original engagement, If I Don’t Move Can You Hear Me? is a series of square panels silkscreened with images depicting Roysdon’s movement vocabulary as well as deconstructed and assertive lines layered on geometric photographs of the Berkeley Art Museum. Each panel rests at 45 degrees along a long horizontal shelf, inserting a sense of movement, not only in the lines and figures themselves, but also in the weight of their form.
Roysdon collaborated with Stockholm design collective Studio SM to create a trio of posters documenting the artist’s working material and process. The third poster in the series, produced especially for this exhibition, will be distributed to visitors.
Emily Roysdon’s work was first shown at Art in General as a co-founder and editor of the feminist journal and artist collective, LTTR, whose exhibition and residency, Explosion LTTR: Practice More Failure, was on view in 2004.
About the Artist
Emily Roysdon (b. 1977) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Roysdon completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 2001 and an Interdisciplinary MFA at UCLA in 2006. In 2008 she was a resident at the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden (IASPIS). Her work has been shown at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, Greater NY at PS1; Manifesta 8, Bucharest Bienniale 4, Participant, Inc. (NY); Generali Foundation (Vienna); New Museum (NY); and the Power Plant (Toronto). Recent solo shows include Konsthall C in Stockholm and a Matrix commission from the Berkeley Art Museum. Her videos have been screened widely, most recently at the Berlinale and the Images Festival (Toronto). Her writings have been published in numerous books and magazines, including the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Zehar, C Magazine, and Women & Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory. Roysdon is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award (2010) and a contributing member with the band MEN. She recently developed the concept “ecstatic resistance” to talk about the impossible and imaginary in politics. The concept debuted with simultaneous shows at Grand Arts in Kansas City, and X Initiative in New York in 2010.