womxn’s rites and solid objects
In March Of 2020, We Met With Heather Kravas And Victoria Haven In Georgetown To Discuss A Potential Collaboration Between Prairie Underground And Their Work Solid Objects.
Introduction by Davora
A work in progress showing of Solid Objects at Oxbow was one of the most compelling works I had viewed in recent years, it held the viewer’s attention in a way that reminded me of the internet. Through a constant shifting of passages that overlap, like the opening of a new browser tab, the relationship of the exhibition venue to the audience and performers was repeatedly expanded and revealed. It suggested that we were all implicated in the same formal investigation of the boundaries between viewer and participant, the construction of an artwork, and the bending of time. I felt involved with the piece long after the performance ended.
Shortly after our initial meeting in 2020, the pandemic reshaped our lives. Our collaboration was postponed and reconfigured as we navigated the uncertainty. When planning resumed in 2021 it was under the auspices of a new model for our collection, womxn’s rites. Camilla and I decided to evolve that imprint to invite artist collaborations into our design process, a shift that was inspired by our conversations about costuming Solid Objects as well as Everlasting Stranger by Will Rawls at the Henry Art Museum in 2021.
During the process of co-designing costumes for Solid Objects, which premiered at the Walker Art Center in May 2022, Heather made an offhand comment about choreographing a work for our recently carpeted gallery space. The carpeting was installed for another installation, but it was conceived as a semipermanent curatorial gesture to make the Gallery space more hospitable to post-pandemic sensibilities while rethinking the legacies of modernism and the affordances of art spaces. The carpet dramatically expanded our small gallery by increasing the possibility of sitting or lying on the floor and it suggests a domestic intimacy that made guests more aware of the care they exercise when coming in from the outside. It suggests another way of being in an art space.
When Heather committed to creating a new work for the carpeted room, it extended the life of this curatorial platform. After her work is completed, the carpet will be retained and relocated to future, undetermined spaces where it will serve the same function. I’m curious to explore a durational commitment to this carpet remnant as an artwork, an idea first suggested by Sean Lockwood a previous artist in our series.
On December 10, 2022, while Heather is performing, we will also be sharing the garment that Camilla designed for Solid Objects in our boutique. Lilia and I screen-printed a limited quantity of these shirts in our workshop in preparation for the exhibition at the Walker last Spring. They were intended to accompany Prairie’s Spring 2023 collection, but we are offering them a little earlier to coincide with Heather’s new performance.
The print is a photograph of a sweater worn interchangeably by the dancers in the first iteration of Solid Objects at Oxbow. As a costume for the third iteration, it both records and acknowledges the original by repeating it as a memory or trace onto the new costume. It also refigures the body of the wearer to become another body, a result of the trompe l’oeil effect of the print of the sweater photographed on one of the dancers. The final body is the new troupe of dancers, eight in total, who will be disbursed into the world in these shirts, continuing to perform Solid Objects.