FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art
FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is an exhibition comprised of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that will launch its inaugural edition in July of 2017. An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, in collaboration with museums, civic institutions, and alternative spaces across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin, will showcase an ambitious roster of projects, including performance and theater throughout the landscape and built environment. With a roster of national, international and area-based artists at all points in their career, FRONT will examine the ever-changing and politically urgent conditions of an American city.
FRONT artists exhibiting at MOCA Cleveland include:
Johnny Coleman is an interdisciplinary artist and educator working in sound, sculpture, and installation based in Oberlin, Ohio. Delving into the history and heritage of African-Americans within the United States, Coleman combines found and hand-made materials, objects, and sound to re-imagine personal and collective narratives and redefine contemporary black experiences. Based on a new installation in and about Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, Coleman will create an auxiliary presentation at MOCA Cleveland that extends his research and expands access to the stories he has uncovered.
Cyprien Gaillard: Nightlife
Cyprien Gaillard’s 3D film and audio installation Nightlife was shot in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Berlin. Like much of Gaillard’s work, the film is a meditation on the ways in which traumatic events of history can be read in urban or ‘natural’ landscapes. Accompanied by a dub soundtrack, the film takes in a bomb-damaged sculpture in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the riotous swaying of trees in dark LA and a firework above Berlin’s Olympiastadion. The final scenes return to Cleveland, to a German oak tree gifted to African-American gold-medalist Jesse Owens by Nazi organizers of the 1936 Olympic Games.
Lin Ke is a multi-media artist who will create a digital experience in augmented and virtual reality in the galleries of the museum. Drawing inspiration from the city of Cleveland, the artist will develop the work as one of the Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion artists in residence for the Triennial.
Josh Kline’s immersive dystopian installation at MOCA Cleveland is a major component of his 2017 project Civil War. MOCA’s presentation of Kline’s work is a monochrome ash-colored environment, featuring a group of gray sculptures that appear to be piles of concrete rubble. The life-size sculptures are made of hundreds of highly-detailed casts of broken and shredded everyday domestic objects including furniture, appliances, tools and children’s toys. Together, they form a dark sci-fi vision of America’s middle-class aspirations as shattered ruins in the aftermath of a near-future civil war. Kline’s larger project Civil War looks ahead to the possible consequences in the coming decades of deteriorating democratic institutions in the United States against a backdrop of mass unemployment due to automation and artificial intelligence.
Martine Syms: An Evening with Queen White
An Evening with Queen White finds the performer Fay Victor (as Queen White) in the midst of a set reminiscent of the Motown recording studios of the 1960s. Filmed in a single long-take, using a 360 degree camera rig centrally located, Fay moves freely, continually captured by the camera. Eschewing conventional VR, Syms explores how the audience can experience this kind of image environment without the use of a headset. An Evening with Queen White is exemplary of Syms’ use of the monologue as a medium for exploring how voice, gesture, and persona are learned and performed. The script complicates the artist’s own biography and points toward how strategies of performing oneself as a black woman in America are transmitted and crystallized across generations through both familial teaching and societal conditioning.