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Indepth Arts News:

2000-05-25 until 2000-07-29
Forum for Contemporary Art
St. Louis, MO, USA United States of America

Best known for his large-scale sculptural installations that perform themselves or more often than not become sites for collaborative monologues and performance pieces, Andrew Connelly's latest work Breathe - created specifically for the Forum for Contemporary Art - is a continuation of his investigation into integrated environments that emphasize motion and the dynamics of movement. With his interest in the interrelationship of materials based upon an organic structure, Connelly explores the literal movement of these forms in both the natural world and beyond. His interest lies mostly, though not entirely, in the interstices, the between worlds, the transitory, where one undergoes change, passage occurs and transcendence is sought.

The white cube of the gallery is transformed to contain a kind of biorhythm, a giant regenerative organic form that choreographs the movement within, literally giving life to the space. Constructed from wood, steel, PVC piping and scrim material, 12 pools of varying depths are filled with water that is mechanically pumped from one pool to another. Breathe is a hydraulic system of sorts, built to reflect and reference the principles of life, organic form and how they perform in the day to day. The installation also suggests movement to and from the non-day to day, or as Connelly calls it, the space between or moments awake.

The movement of the surface of each pool is reflected overhead onto disks hanging from the ceiling, while an audible water level - slowly rising and falling, flowing from one pool to the next - provides a rhythmic orchestration, making reoccurring patterns in nature heard. Breathe is a configuration based in nature and reality, yet refers to the intangible and the ephemeral, asserting that nothing (known or unknown) is inert, but that all things are continually in motion.

Rooted in both the experiential and the intuitive, Connelly builds upon an event, a memory, as well as dreams and perceptions, that then manifest into three-dimensional 'labs.' His installations or labs become a platform for ideas, experimentation, performance, collaboration and ultimately, transformation. Connelly's 'space between' (between the pools and the reflection discs above) is a liminal space between consciousness and unconsciousness, between the abstract and the concrete, between the private and the public, between the spiritual and the secular and between life and death. Connelly mediates on the perceived distance between each of these sets of oppositions and the often ambiguous space they occupy in our lives. In the process he reveals a discontinuity of assumptions, temporal moments of intersection and a dissolving of boundaries. Breathe blurs the distinction between such dualities by identifying that the distance is not so great. It is one continuous motion, existing in various ruptures in time, which will eventually converge as nature demonstrates. Connelly's pre-subscribed choreography and geometry integrates the dynamics of human movement for a thoughtful reading of the microbiomaterial that circulates within the body, maintaining the living force.

The three performance pieces accompanying the installation Breathe were choreographed by Andrew Connelly, David Marchet and Cecil Slaughter. Dancer and choreographer David Marchet has collaborated with Andrew Connelly on several monologues and performance pieces. Breathe is dancer and choreographer Cecil Slaughter's first collaboration with the artist.

Andrew Connelly,
studio shot of work in progress,

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