Lau­ren Brincat
It’s Not the End of the World

21st March – 11th May 2013
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Work­ing with sculp­ture and per­for­mance, Lau­ren Brin­cat con­structs sit­u­a­tions into which the audi­ence is invit­ed to share her expe­ri­ence of every­day life’s spec­trum of major and minor engage­ments. Brin­cat’s exhi­bi­tion is influ­enced by her time spent work­ing in Mex­i­co, where accord­ing to much-mis­rep­re­sent­ed Mayan belief, the world was pre­dict­ed to end on Decem­ber 21, 2012. A paint­ed plac­ard bear­ing the title of the exhi­bi­tion stands as pro­vi­sion­al tes­ta­ment to the world’s sur­vival, and on a less cat­a­clysmic scale, a com­mon response to things not hap­pen­ing as planned. The white-paint­ed sec­tions of the wood­en plac­ard struc­ture refer to the prac­tice in Mex­i­co City of paint­ing trees to pro­tect them from pests: a sym­bol­ic coat of soft armour which Brin­cat adapts to pro­tect her work and by exten­sion, herself.

Brin­cat bor­rows the evil eye tal­is­man and the ancient rit­u­al of plate-smash­ing as fur­ther acts of asser­tion and self-pro­tec­tion. Smash­ing draws on the dual sym­bol­ic pur­pose of break­ing plates, a tra­di­tion that express­es in some cas­es an excess of joy, and in oth­ers, the moment of mourn­ing and the expul­sion of bad spir­its. In both cas­es, the action is both vio­lent and ther­a­peu­tic, ecsta­t­ic and ter­ri­fy­ing. You’ve Got a Good Eye sim­i­lar­ly makes use of super­sti­tious sup­port, deflect­ing the cursed gaze of even well-mean­ing onlook­ers, and pro­vid­ing escape ropes’ that inevitably lead the artist back to the place whence she began: a posi­tion of courage and inge­nu­ity in times of fear and doubt. The visu­al ref­er­ence to musi­cal instru­ments adds a com­i­cal ele­ment to Brin­cat’s com­men­tary: the pleat­ed fab­ric mim­ics the exten­sive, dense con­certi­na of a piano accor­dion, sug­gest­ing the expan­sion of dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions and the impos­si­bil­i­ty of any real escape.

The vig­i­lant eye recurs in This High, this time, in a more benev­o­lent man­ner. Rem­i­nis­cent of the hand-drawn door-frame height charts of child­hood, This High stands at Brin­cat’s cur­rent height as a kind of self-por­trait, a per­son­al high-water mark of achieve­ment. Aspi­ra­tional in spir­it, the height chart shows that the only way to go is up. It stands as a dis­play of the past and a reminder of the present moment. The artist invites view­ers of the work to mea­sure up, too, and mark their height against the wall. The sculp­ture becomes a sit­u­a­tion of par­tic­i­pa­tion and a sim­ple expe­ri­ence shared, but retains an under­cur­rent of sib­ling-like rival­ry and com­pe­ti­tion, quan­ti­fy­ing achieve­ment by mea­sur­ing a qual­i­ty that is uncon­nect­ed with any true per­son­al merit.

The artist’s body appears, and dis­ap­pears, again in Walk in Traf­fic. The video work doc­u­ments Brin­cat’s con­tin­u­a­tion of her walk­ing’ pieces, fol­low­ing Steady as she Goes and Hey, I’m Walk­ing Here. In Walk in Traf­fic, Brin­cat plunges into the noto­ri­ous­ly heavy traf­fic of one of the Mex­i­co City’s busiest arte­r­i­al routes, pro­tect­ed in this case only by the vis­i­bil­i­ty of a cloud of heli­um bal­loons, her safe­ty in the hands of the mass of com­muters. In an action com­bin­ing the con­cep­tu­al pur­pose­ful­ness of artists such as Richard Long and Fran­cis Alÿs with the pre­car­i­ous exis­tence of Mex­i­co’s street ven­dors, Brin­cat per­forms her soli­tary act amidst the con­gest­ed land­scape of one of the world’s most pop­u­lous cities.

Reflect­ing the artist’s own per­son­al expec­ta­tions, ambi­tions, and dis­ap­point­ments, It’s Not the End of the World’ invites view­ers to con­tem­plate being wel­comed but unwant­ed, accept­ed and empow­ered through their own encoun­ters with Brin­cat’s feats.

Images

Lau­ren Brincat

It’s Not the End of World, 2012
Steel, wood, enamel
13082.562 cm

Lau­ren Brincat

Walk in Traffic, 2012
sin­gle-chan­nel dig­i­tal video, 16:9, colour, sound
3 min­utes 7 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

You’ve Got a Good Eye (Left), 2013
Bermu­da sail, silk, cotton
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

You’ve Got a Good Eye (Right), 2013
Bermu­da sail, silk, cotton
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

One with­out the Other, 2013
brass, rope
1791771.5 cm, height variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Smash­ing, 2013
4 min­utes 51 seconds

Lau­ren Brincat

This High, 2013
brass, enamel
17317297 cm