Indepth Arts News: |
"Nadine Robinson: Das Hochzeitshaus (The Wedding House)"
2003-05-02 until 2003-07-27
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
USA United States of America
ICA is pleased to present the third in a new series of commissions for the museum’s Ramp Space: an installation of sound and light by Nadine Robinson. Das Hochzeitshaus (The Wedding House) is a stack of illuminated speakers blasting out a blend of laughter and pentacostal glossalalia (speaking in tongues) through a blaze of blue light. It stems from the artist’s interest in the subject of labor, to spin social and cultural references that are read through, what Robinson calls "my own Black West Indian subjectivity."
These references extend from Hamelin, Germany, (whence comes the legend of the Pied Piper, an allegory of greed and mass hysteria) to the Bronx, New York, (where ‘Houses of Joy’ is slang for the elaborate amalgamations of speakers that power street parties). The formal similarities between such a tower and the rooftop of a Renaissance "Wedding House" in Hamelin becomes the fusion point that Robinson constructs to transform the ramp into a chamber of hypnotic associations and holy laughter.
Nadine Robinson (b. 1968, London, England; lives Bronx, New York) makes mixed media installations that use sound to create intersections between Black music culture and White visual culture. "Das Hochszeithaus" relates to her recent series of Boom Paintings, named after the ubiquitous boom box radios of the 80’s, and to her 2001 installation Tower Hollers. Conceived during a residency at the World Trade Center Studios, Tower Hollers combines slave songs and elevator "muzak" into a wall of sound. It was exhibited in the group show "Tempo" at The Museum of Modern Art, Queens. Other group shows include "Rappers Delight (The Visual Avante-Garde of Hip-Hop)" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2001; "Freestyle" and "For the Record: Julie Mehretu, Senam Okudzeto and Nadine Robinson" both at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where Robinson was a 2000-2001 participant in Artists-in-Residence. She is a graduate of New York University.
Since 2000, ICA has commissioned artist installations for its 92’ ramp, a transitional space that connects the first and second floor galleries. The work is visible from the street through a giant picture window that is one of the architectural features of ICA’s façade. As this "picture" changes from project to project - Arturo Herrera and Kimowan McLain made previous commissions - it shows the dynamism of ICA’s program as a whole. The ramp extends the museum’s invitation to anyone walking down 36th street to share in the experience of contemporary art.
ICA acknowledges the generous sponsorship of the William Penn Foundation for this project. Additional funding has been provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Dietrich Foundation Inc., the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, friends and members of ICA, and the University of Pennsylvania. ICA is also grateful for the in-kind support of JVC America and Pink Noise Sound Environments, NYC. (Information complete as of 4/1/03.)
Untitled, 2002, Courtesy of the Artist