Amy Sillman and Charles Bernstein, Duplexities

collaborations at Bowery Poetry Club

sometimes a bee’s just a bee
and a sting just a sting
and song just a song
and sorrow just sorrow
sometimes the blue just gets to you
and the black an instrument
of form’s indelible intransigence

October 28, 2011- January 3, 2012
Opening reception, October 28, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Screening of Pinky’s Rule, Bernstein and Sillman’s 7-minute animated drawing, at 6:15 pm sharp
Bowery Poetry Club
310 Bowery, New York, NY

For the Art Wall project, Amy Sillman and Charles Bernstein have made a series of image/poem collaborations, “Duplexities,” and an animated movie, Pinky’s Rule.

Pinky’s Rule, a seven-minute animated drawing, will be premiered at the opening. The sound track features Sillman reading Bernstein’s poem. In making the work, the collaborators went back and forth, toggling from image to poem and poem to image, so that it is impossible to say which came first. All the images bounce off the poem and the poem is constantly grappling with and extending the graphics. Sillman made more than 2000 images for the film.

“Duplexities” is a series of over 100 works. For this exhibit, about one-third of the collaboration will be shown: 70 17″ x 25″ inkjet prints (half images and half poems). The images for the animated drawing and prints were originally created on an I-phone. They were printed by Nathan Baker for this project as inkjet on archival newsprint. While many of Bernstein’s poems were written as commentaries on Sillman’s pictures, many of Sillman’s pictures were made in response to Bernstein’s poems.

Pinky’s Rule and “Duplexities” offer a Moebius twist on illustration and ekphrasis: the poems do speak out of the images, but the images reply in turn, and vice versa. Bernstein & Sillman have created a large-scale serial work that is overlaid and interwoven: the words offer versions of the pictures and the pictures are transfigurations of the words. They call their process iconophrastic (both speaking picture and pictures speaking). In the animated drawiung, Pinky’s Rule, and in “Duplexities,” the associated image/poem collaboration, motifs and icons are constantly permuted, turned over and upside down, and oscillated for good measure. Figuration dissolves into abstraction and abstraction bursts into song.


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