Janine Antoni, to return, 2015
Janine Antoni: In my holding
May 25 – Jul 10, 2024
Rossi & Rossi
Hong Kong

Rossi & Rossi is pleased to present In my holding, the first solo exhibition in Asia of Bahamian artist Janine Antoni (b. 1964). Known for her groundbreaking performance works, she uses her body as a conduit, a tool and an anchor for meaning. Antoni’s early methods involved transforming unique materials such as chocolate and soap through habitual, everyday processes like bathing, eating and sleeping to create sculptural works that called attention to the meaning of the making. By way of her body of work, Antoni carefully articulates her relationship to the world, giving rise to emotional states that are felt in and through the senses. In each piece, no matter the medium or image, a conveyed physicality is meant to speak directly to the viewer’s body.The work on view continues to investigate the expressive capacity of the body as well as what it means to live from an embodied place. The exhibition runs from 25 May to 20 July 2024.‍

From The Vow Made (2015) is a series of ghostly sculptures where the interior and exterior of the body meet in impossible connections. Through these marriages, psychological space turns physical. The translucent objects are created with a purposeful erasure of detail, a memory half remembered. The works reference milagros, replicas of body parts made as prayers or votive offerings for healing. to return (2015) is a domestic stool with a cupped hand embracing a tailbone in the place where a body would sit. As the sacrum is the site of our evolutionary lost tail, the hand cradles the remains of this ancient sever. One rung of the stool is replaced with the branch of a tree. In this sculpture, all parts turn and return. The tip of the coccyx sinks into the seat of the stool. The body and stool graft to one another taking their relationship to an extreme. The stool has been designed for the body, but over time, the stool has designed the body.

In the series Gilded Gestures (2019), Antoni renders the earthly body sacred in photographs of gestures painted gold and framed with casts of the bones of the body parts depicted. The artist turns to religious icons, calling on their techniques and convictions to frame these gestures. By replacing traditional deities or saints with bodily gestures, she honours the body’s fragility and conductive capacity. Antoni and her family enact gestures of intimate connection inspired by a range of religious iconography, from the Virgin Mary’s hand to the Buddha’s foot. In I touch your listening (2019), Antoni’s mother’s hand touches her father’s ear in an atmosphere of gold. Casts of the three small bones of the ear spiral to form the gold frame, honouring the formation of sound as it enters the body. Below, a dragged single finger bone cradles the gesture. Listening and touching thus collapse into each other. Antoni noticed that over time, as her elderly parents lost access to language and memory, touch replaced other forms of communication. The image therefore captures love in the face of impending death and asks: How does love outlive life?

Antoni painstakingly calibrates each gesture and deliberates over each symbol. In doing so, she constructs a world in which one’s memories are revived through contact with her work. Each one carries a visceral physicality of its own that serves as a catalyst to connect with the viewer’s body and senses. The exhibition will be accompanied by a titular catalogue with an essay by Eugenie Tsai, former curator of contemporary art at Brooklyn Museum, and an interview with the artist by Elaine W. Ng, editor and publisher of ArtAsiaPacific.

Janine Antoni: In my holding
May 25 – Jul 10, 2024
Rossi and Rossi
Hong Kong

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