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Indepth Arts News:

"Regina Frank: Whiteness in Decay"
2003-05-16 until 2003-06-29
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego, CA, USA United States of America

Internationally renowned artist Regina Frank combines fruits and vegetables with the latest technology in a newly commissioned performance and multimedia installation inspired by SDMA’s acclaimed still-life painting, Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, by Spanish baroque master Juan Sánchez Cotán. Her installation at SDMA is the first in a new series entitled Contemporary Links in which the Museum commissions contemporary artists to respond to artworks from its collection. Frank created the central elements of the installation during a performance titled “Whiteness in Decay” at Sushi Performance & Visual Art.

“We are pleased to collaborate with such a talented and multifaceted artist. Regina brings a whole new perspective to our Cotán painting by using concepts of still-life to bridge the past to the present through a personal and dynamic approach to art making,” says Betti-Sue Hertz, the project’s curator and SDMA curator of contemporary art.

Based in Berlin, Frank has presented her multimedia performances at major museums and contemporary art spaces all over the world. She will create her installation materials during a public performance at Sushi Performance & Visual Art, San Diego’s premiere alternative art space. There she will meld the traditional materials of fabric and organic pigments with modern technologies, including computer generated texts and video projection. Wearing her signature attribute, a voluminous dress, she will pull down the fruits and vegetables, which have been dipped in white plaster and hung from strings in a manner similar to SDMA’s Cotán painting. The juices from the fruits and vegetables she breaks open and consumes will be rubbed onto the dress, transforming the surface from white to multicolored, like a painting. Evoking notions of fecundity, sensuality, and life, the visual imagery will be supplemented by written responses to the question “What feeds your soul?” which Frank will send out via email prior to the performance.

Frank’s installation in an upstairs gallery at SDMA will incorporate objects and videos from her presentation at Sushi. A plaster cast of her torso will serve as a support for the fruit-stained dress from the performance, which will be placed in proximity to the Cotán painting. On three separate screens, videos of the performance—an aerial view; a view of her hands peeling the fruits; and the texts about food—will be projected. Contrasted to the traditional still-life painting, Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, which remains stationary and timeless, Frank’s non-traditional installation will suggest abundance through consumption. An electronic kiosk located near the entrance to the gallery will enable visitors to email the artist their thoughts on food and her work, thus becoming part of the installation themselves. Regina Frank Born in Berlin in 1965, Frank has been living and traveling internationally for the past fourteen years, producing a series of works under the title “The Artist is Present” at museums, galleries, and public spaces. Trained as a seamstress before receiving her MFA in 1995 at the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Frank uses her “A-Dresses” as a meditative vehicle for exploring inner and outer experience as well as political, cultural, and spiritual issues. Her works encompass a field of tension between virtual and real, analog and digital, in search of the integral whole being. Frank is best known in the United States for Hermes’ Mistress (1994–1999), a monumental piece involving thousands of hours of performance. From 1998 to 1999, she held a guest professorship at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has lectured extensively at museums and universities throughout the United States. Her works have been displayed at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Serpentine Gallery in London, Kunsthalle in Berlin, Reina Sofia in Madrid, MOCA in Los Angeles, Spiral Wacoal Art Center in Tokyo, at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and the 1998 ARCO in Madrid. Lately she has participated with performances at the 1999 Venice Bienale, the Performance Studies Conference 7 in 2001, and the House of Press in Berlin in 2001. Most recently, she performed the interactive project What is Black? What is White? at the Muffathalle in Munich, which she will present at various venues in the United States and Europe. In April 1999 Frank’s monograph The Artist Is Present was published by the Senate for Cultural Affairs in Berlin. Frank’s performance and installation art has also been written about in many publications including Sculpture Magazine (cover), Parade Magazine, Harper’s, The New York Times, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Japan Times, Artforum, and Art Examiner.

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