Last spring I attempted to map out various ways I’d been thinking about failure. This fast sketch was informed by several years of collaborating with Natasha Marie Llorens, my history with several of the artists in the show, and the recent inundation of both scholarly and pop cultural writing that has invested in this thing called failure. Recently, I went back to the drawing and manipulated it on a copier. You can see my hands interacting with the paper, moving it around on the scanner surface. As a result, certain areas of the image are blurred or darkened. By making the image serial, I wanted to make it refuse singularity and instead show a process that unfolds through my active participation with the medium over time.
This series of images is in no way an exhaustive mapping of the show’s terms or possibilities, but it does speak to the show’s desire to build a platform where failure is understood relationally, performatively, and durationally. In this sense, failure is only a useful term when seen as a set of circumstances that determine why certain kinds of bodies are perceived as failures, or why they fall out of recognition altogether; why certain forms of communication fail; why some forms of failure are experienced as productively playful or risky.
Why can't we levitate?
We are heavy in the moment, in our bodies, in relationship to EFA and its location, in relationship to each other and the various artworks, in this precarious web of circumstances. Individual freedom is traded for inter-dependence. This is a murky world where one can’t see or understand themself on their own terms. In this show there are layered refusals to transcend one’s physical or social conditions. There are reasons why we can’t just let go and lighten up.
Kerry Downey (born 1979, Florida) is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher and lover of collectives and collaborations. She holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College. Her work has recently been shown at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (Annandale, NY), Franklin Street Works (Stamford, CT), NURTUREart (Brooklyn). Invisible Dog (Brooklyn), and Horton Gallery (NYC). In October she participated in a group show at REVERSE (Brooklyn), which was chosen as a Critic’s Pick in Artforum. Downey was a Queer/Art/Mentorship Fellow in 2012-13 and is a current participant in the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions. She teaches at the Museum of Modern Art and in the Hunter College Art Department in New York City. www.kerrydowney.com