“The future is necessarily monstrous: the figure of the future, that is, that which can only be surprising, that for which we are not prepared, you see, is heralded by species of monsters. A future that would not be monstrous would not be a future; it would already be a predictable, calculable, and programmable tomorrow.” —Jacques Derrida
Allegory helps us to see and narrativize wider, more diffuse conditions. It is a technique of knowledge production and a tool of cultural discipline. Every monster story is an allegory, its imagery conjured to stand in for a terror that is not yet knowable, and not yet named. Frankenstein’s creature, vampires, lycanthropes, Medusa... their portraits double as holding places for, and shields against, the rumbling of a more extensional threat which is not so easily described or faced. Positioned at the boundary of the civic order, marked, rejected, and banned, the monsters persist on intruding. The control and mobilization of their images, then, grants a form of power. Faced with the threat of trespass, we recognize our identity all the more clearly and seek to protect ourselves against said threat. It is with recognition of the monstrous form that we make the monster real.
A Few Howls Again was meant to open in March 2020 but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of the physical installation, Gallery 44 hosted two online video screenings and discussions with Silvia Kolbowski. The in-person iteration was presented as originally intended save for a textual insert. The disjointed temporality of the exhibition and its public program echoes the state of suspension we find ourselves in, as well as the allegorical time and recursive understanding of historical crisis that Kolbowski’s work elucidates and deploys.
Silvia Kolbowski: A Few Howls Again presents film and photographic works by Argentine-born New York-based artist Silvia Kolbowski. Kolbowski’s research-based visual and textual practice addresses questions of temporality, historicization, political resistance, and the unconscious. In this exhibition, video, collage and installation work by the artist examine contemporary issues around political narrativization and power structures through historical figures and film history. This exhibition will create a space to nurture the multiple dialogues embedded in Kolbowski’s practice and explore its capacious ability to gesture outward to our present political moment. In collaboration with the artist, the curators have selected fragments from Kolbowski’s archive that frame both the broad and personal stakes of her work. As Kolbowski is also a prolific writer on art and politics, A Few Howls Again will extend into written word through the inclusion of selected texts.
Curated by Jared Quinton, Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe and Magdalyn Asimakis.
Download the catalogue here.
The Booklet the curators created can be found here, it contains a selection of lists from the artists' archive.
Silvia Kolbowski is a time-based media artist who addresses questions of historicization, political resistance, and the unconscious. The structures of spectatorship — psychical and political — are a central concern of all her projects. Her work has been exhibited in many contexts, including The Taipei Biennial, The Whitney Biennial, and The Hammer Museum.
Jared Quinton is a curator and critic based in Chicago. He has organized exhibitions at The Kitchen (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Terremoto La Postal (Mexico City), and his writing has appeared in BOMB, Artforum, and The Brooklyn Rail.
Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe is a writer and curator based between London and Berlin, her work is focused on performance, documentary and artist moving image. She has curated exhibitions and programmes at PS120 (Berlin), ESSEX STREET GALLERY (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The Kitchen (New York), Auto Italia (London), Jupiter Woods (London), Arcadia_Missa (London) and ma ma (Toronto). She is currently a PhD candidate at Birkbeck University, working on British portrait photography of the 1970s and 1980s.
Magdalyn Asimakis is a curator and writer. She has organized exhibitions and programs in Toronto and New York, and co-founded the project space and collective ma ma in 2018. Her writing has been published in art magazines such as Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers, Artforum and Canadian Art Magazine, as well as exhibition catalogues for the New Museum and SFMoMA. She is currently a PhD student at Queen's University where she is studying the display of global modernisms in museums.
Mignon Nixon is an American academic. She serves as the Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at University College London in London, United Kingdom.