press release

Opening reception Wednesday June 28, 6-8pm. At 7pm there will be a presentation and conversation between Lisa Ross and Rushangul Rozi, architect and scholar of vernacular Uyghur architecture, currently visiting scholar at Indiana University.

Noriko Furunishi’s landscapes present the world in a fragile balance between the tranquility of an inchoate primordial state and the tumult of glacial, seismic and diluvial transformation.

Upon closer inspection, the pictures reveal themselves to be fragmented images woven together, flipped horizontally and vertically, their perspectives destabilized, their horizons eradicated. Viewing these pictures is a theatrical experience, dreamlike and hallucinogenic, but their hi-tech creation is also a reminder of the ecological manipulation, toxic effluents and natural disasters of our modern age.

Swedish artist Ann Böttcher’s delicate drawings of weeping spruce trees refer to the German warrior Hermann’s defeat of three Roman legions at the battle of Teutoburger Forest in 9 A.D., in which the conifers themselves were employed in the belligerent tactics. The battle is described by Tacitus in his work Germania. Later the Nazis came to see Germania as the birth certificate of the German race. Before becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering was Reichsminister of Forestry and no previous regime had been so bent on preserving forests as this one.

At various times the US military has utilized vast areas of land to simulate the conditions and landscapes of other countries. Since the beginning of the war in Iraq, the Marine’s “virtual Iraq and Afghanistan”, spread across hundreds of miles of California desert, has been the subject of An-My Lê’s black-and-white photographs entitled “29 Palms”. Outside of the dichotomy of the staged versus documentary in contemporary photography, Lê’s rendering of simulated desert battlefields bear the weight of both tactical scrutiny and a provocative disjunction. Far from the CNN news-feed, she has confronted the individuals and surfaces that constitute the face of our military culture.

Lisa Ross records the inscription of culture, power and devotion onto the Taklamakan desert landscape of former East Turkestan (officially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) in western China. During her quest for the sacred shrines and burial sites of the Muslim Uyghurs, she documented the checker-like patterns stitched into the endless stretch of dunes by the Chinese Authorities in their attempts to control the landscape and to more thoroughly incorporate the Uyghurs and this remote region of Central Asia into the rest of China.

Russian emigrée Anna Shteynshleyger’s photographs of the Kolyma region of Siberia, are not records of the locations of past crimes. Though her camera is pointing in the direction of historical sites of unremembered trauma, they do not reckon with the past and refuse any urge to heal through reliving previous horrors. They sidestep the inevitable failure of the photograph to stand for historical events, but let us see what a Siberian exile might have noticed in a moment of relief, through the slats of a cattle car, or beyond the wires of the Gulag.

Ann Böttcher (b.1973) received her MFA at Malmö Art Academy, She has had a solo show at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. She is currently the IASPIS resident at the ISCP, New York.

Noriko Furunishi (b. 1966 Kobe) received her MFA at University of California Loa Angeles. Her work is currently on view in New Landscape at the Museum of Modern Art New York. In September she will participate in Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video, International Center for Photography, New York, NY and in Super Vision at the ICA Boston

An-My Lê (b.1960 Saigon) received her MFA from Yale University School of Art. She will have a solo exhibition at DIA Beacon from September. Her traveling show Small Wars: Photographs by An-My Lê is currently on view at RISD Museum, Providence.

Lisa Ross (b.1964 Brooklyn) received her MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1989 she founded the Photography and Arts Program at Harvey Milk High School, Hetrick-Martin Institute, New York Anna Shteynshleyger (b.1977 Moscow) received her MFA from Yale University School of Art. She has had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

“Waterline” is an installation of framed photographs hung in a level line above a wainscot of painted paneling. The photographs were taken on a walk through Gentilly and St. Roch in Central New Orleans on November 6, 2005, two months after Katrina.

Francis Cape had gone to New Orleans to work at the Louisiana State Museum. One of their buildings had a damaged roof, and the contents were being moved to temporary storage in Baton Rouge. His walk took him through an area that was not the dramatic Lower Ninth Ward of media coverage. Gentilly, a middle class neighborhood of ordinary homes, could be anywhere in America. He saw two or three families clearing their homes, a few cars passed. Wanting to photograph the ordinariness and silence, Cape focussed on the waterline which, together with the army’s paint markings listing date and body count, acted as a sign rather than a description of what had happened. More obvious in some photographs than others, the presence of the waterline accumulates during the viewing.

The paneling of the wainscot is that pressed “random board” sheet paneling so common throughout the US in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Often subsequently painted over, it appears as such in one of the photographs, and unpainted in another. The wainscot establishes a strong horizontal line using an architectural element that works against the distancing effect of the exhibition space.

Francis Cape has had solo exhibitions at the St. Louis Art Museum, Eli Marsh Gallery Amherst College, Amherst, MA and The College of Saint Rose Art Gallery, Albany. He has participated in group shows at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. Waterline is currently also on view at Grimm/Rosenfeld, Munich, Germany.


The Lie of the Land

mit Ann Böttcher, Francis Cape, Noriko Furunishi, An-My Le, Lisa Ross, Anna Shteynshleyger