The Untitled Space is pleased to present THE LABYRINTH an installation and exhibition of works by artist Indira Cesarine featuring photography, video, painting, and sculpture, as well as a series of performances inspired by the artwork. The exhibition will open with an artist reception on March 12th, 2020 featuring a special performance by renowned modern dancer Katherine Crockett, and will be on view through April 11th.
For “THE LABYRINTH” Cesarine has created an immersive installation, transforming the gallery into a maze through which viewers can experience her contemporary female gaze on Surrealism, a theme the artist has been exploring through a variety of mediums over the past several decades. “THE LABYRINTH” is a surreal odyssey that reveals through its passages a kaleidoscopic universe of subconscious realities bound by the contrasts of hyperrealism and ethereal symbolism. Cesarine leads the viewer through this maze of discoveries, presenting works that are deeply personal and equally created in response to the influence of Surrealists including Jean Cocteau, Man Ray, and Dora Maar. “THE LABYRINTH” explores the juxtaposition of contrasting opposites, dimension, distortion, and the power of light to engage and reflect on our own stream of subconscious while provoking the tangibility of perceived realities. The result is a journey through our fantasies and expectations, rendered through the lens of dreams and desires.
The juxtaposition of Cesarine’s macro and kaleidoscopic florals created for “THE LABYRINTH” play in sharp contrast to the visual yin yang of her surreal portraits of women that explore female sensuality and identity. Through the lens of fantasy and illusion, she toys with imagery of the subconscious mind, depicting the human form with power and subjectivity. Hands and faces intertwine in a reverie that is part real, part illusion. Sculptural hands project from the walls of the installation as though coming alive, part human, part sculpture, in a manner that is both seductive and haunting. Video art, including a 2020 remix of her film “The Spell” which was featured at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, adds to the visual poetry and experience of the maze. Her use of symbolism and dramatic chiaroscuro conveys emotionally charged imagery that presents both an escape into fantasy and a journey through our unattainable desires. As one walks through “THE LABYRINTH,” there is a sense of being lost in time as kaleidoscopic images come alive off the walls. Mirrors positioned throughout the installation emphasize our own reflections while exploring the surreal landscape of the artworks on display.
“THE LABYRINTH” exhibition and installation features Cesarine’s most recent body of work, as well as select works from her “Goddess”, “Les Fleurs du Mal”, “Pandora’s Box” and “ONLY YOU” series. Cesarine’s “Goddess” series, featuring dancer Katherine Crockett, presents emotive images of the female form juxtaposed with detailed florals, creating surreal portraits that according to the artist, emphasize the graceful strength of Mother Earth as a goddess and the power of nature. “Les Fleurs du Mal” welded steel sculpture series reflects on the emotional impact and symbolism of flowers. The depiction of flowers, whether as a still life, as part of a photographic composition, or in the form of a 3 dimensional sculpture has been an ongoing theme in Cesarine’s artwork dating back to her early photography series shot on medium format film in the 1990s. Also featured in the “THE LABYRINTH” are a selection of photography and video art from her “ONLY YOU” series, which focuses on the eyes as an emotional portal. Works from her “ONLY YOU” series were previously exhibited at Cannes Film Festival, Art Basel Miami, SCOPE Basel, Switzerland, CICA Museum (South Korea), Red Bull Studios (London), and Norwood Arts Club, NY.
“Empowering feminist themes are often a point of departure for my multi-sensory series. My work questions the place of humanity in context with contemporary civilization and is often influenced by autobiographical content and women’s history at large. I connect with thematic subject matter that engages a narrative of social discourse and art activism. As a multi-disciplinarian artist, I often work across several mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, painting and printmaking to convey a rich and diverse narrative. Through my exhibitions and artwork, I challenge the status quo, as well as tackle stereotypes and double standards. I draw from historical narratives in an effort to create empowering artwork that can have an impact on the viewer, be a catalyst for change or provide insight into history, which may have been overlooked. As an artist, I find it is more effective to communicate my ideas through visual and sensory explorations that can uniquely address the world we live in today.
I have been exploring themes of Surrealism in my work since my very first forays into photography back in the late 80’s. Experimental darkroom techniques such as solarization and double exposures have played an important part of my visual narrative, which also often employs nuances of fractured light. While studying for my degree in Art History at Columbia University in Paris I became very interested in the history of Surrealism, and wrote a 30 page paper,“Surréalisme, Sexualité, et La Femme,” on the male gaze and misogyny of many of the original Surrealists. Presenting an empowering female perspective on images of women has always been an important part of my work. Explorations of female identity, sexuality, dreams, and desires have been returning themes in my artwork since I first started creating. In the early 2000s, I expanded from the still frame and works on canvas and paper to moving images, with experimental filmmaking and video art. As my artwork has evolved, I have become inspired to create 3 dimensional works in glass and steel that further propel my visual language. My sculptures explore themes of female identity, symbolism and experience, employing a technical emphasis on light and reflection, often combining figurative sculpture with neon or video display to further engage a multifaceted experience.
In several of my recent works featured in “THE LABYRINTH” I explore surreal techniques of “light painting” that were invented by Man Ray in1937, which I have juxtaposed with dramatic chiaroscurist portraits of women in order to evoke an ethereal universe of light and energy. I also find myself returning to the visual language of flowers – as a representation of women’s sexuality, as well as emotional expression of love, forgiveness, sorrow, and hope. Throughout history, flowers have been ripe with symbolism, with each blossom or arrangement having different meanings. The language of flowers dates back many centuries, and they were often used to send secret messages to lovers. For me the flower can be alluring, mysterious, sensual and full of emotions that are difficult to express with words. There is also something intrinsically female about flower blossoms and their visual reference to a women’s body that resonates with me as an artist. It has been inspiring to bring together multiple aspects of my creative process into one exhibition, with “THE LABYRINTH” featuring many varied artistic mediums that become unified through the installation of the maze. I conceived of the maze concept for an exhibition and installation a few years ago after my father passed away. This exhibition is inspired by the maze of life, the power of human connection, emotion and experience – combined with the surreal nature of the unknown.”
Indira Cesarine is a multidisciplinary artist who works with photography, video, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. A graduate of Columbia University with a triple major in Art History, French and Women’s Studies, she additionally studied at Parson’s School of Design, International Center of Photography, School of Visual Arts, Art Students League and the New York Academy of Art. Cesarine had her first solo show at the age of sixteen at Paul Mellon Arts Center. Her work as an artist has been featured internationally at many art galleries, museums, and art fairs, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hudson Valley MOCA, Mattatuck Museum, Albany Institute of History and Art, CICA Museum, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, French Embassy Cultural Center, Art Basel Miami, SCOPE Art Basel, SCOPE Miami, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Getty Images Gallery, Cannes Film Festival and the International Festival Photo Mode to name a few.
In 2014, her public art sculpture “The Egg of Light” was exhibited at Rockefeller Center as part of the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt supporting The Elephant Family. Her work has been auctioned at Sotheby’s New York for the annual Take Home A Nude art benefits in 2017-2019, at ARTWALK NY benefiting the Coalition for the Homeless in 2018 and 2019, as well as at Tabula Rasa, the 26th Annual Watermill Center Benefit and Auction, July 2019. Her work is additionally on view at Norwood Art Club’s “Ingenuity” exhibition until August 2020. Her artwork and exhibitions have been featured internationally in many publications including American Vogue, Vogue Italia, Forbes, Newsweek, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Dazed and Confused, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, and The Huffington Post among many others. Cesarine currently lives and works in Tribeca, NY.
“THE LABYRINTH” Opening Performance: Katherine Crockett March 12, 2020
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