Céline Condorelli and The Company
Curated by Tessa Giblin and Cian O’Brien
The gallery becomes home to five sculptures, provocative hybrids of form and function, useful things and purposeless things. These are Céline Condorelli’s Additionals, the structures that resulted from the artist’s collaboration with Cornelius Cardew’s score The Tiger’s Mind, and now the cast of theatre artists The Company’s work-in-development at Project Arts Centre.
The gallery, and Céline Condorelli’s exhibition, will become the site of The Company’s creative process, as they work with these five structures for the duration of the exhibition. Evolving from Condorelli’s interest in support structures, objects and identity in art and architecture, The Company will work with Additionals to look at similar constructions of meaning and occupation in theatre.
Five sculptures are present in a room. The room’s environment changes from Day to Night. The sculptures do things: from one, the on-going sound of wind is heard; from another, the periodic rustle of its fabric; another is lit, then unlit. Built as assemblages, constructions, even backdrops, the sculptures are a provocative hybrid of form and function, useful thing and purposeless thing. These are Additionals, the cast that resulted from Céline Condorelli’s journey with Cornelius Cardew’s score The Tiger’s Mind, who now feature in The Company’s work-in-development at Project Arts Centre.
Structure for Communicating with Wind, Structure for Listening, Structure for Preparing the Piano, Structure for Reading and Structure for Public Speaking come together under the common name of Additionals, pointing to a historical moment that informs these objects’ relationship with art. Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Oggetti in Meno (objects one can do without or more commonly translated as The Minus Objects) from 1967, are the precedent that Condorelli refers to in naming the structures Additionals. The Minus Objects are the family of objects, sculptures, and things that Pistoletto made with the intent to distance himself from the intentional mystique and commodification of the art object:
“My works are not constructions or fabrications of new ideas, any more than they are objects that represent me […] Rather, they are objects through whose agency I free myself from something—not constructions, then, but liberations. I do not consider them more but less, not pluses but minuses […]” (Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Minus Objects)
Combining existing items – a towering bank of sound-system speakers, ‘space blanket’ material modified into a curtain, or an Ercol chair perched atop a step ladder, Condorelli’s Additionals further provoke questions around the artness of art objects, by taking journeys into the wilderness of real life, appearing as props, backdrops or things with an unclear yet hinted at use-value in these other-context scenarios. Presented originally in a discontinued TV studio, the exhibition of the five structures was accompanied by a bank of monitors, displayed in the original editing suite of the studio, and showing screen tests of the five structures in their ‘other’ roles. These video-editing monitors are here in Project Arts Centre again, drawing out Condorelli’s ongoing fascination with the structures and inherent politics of display. Trained as an architect, and the author of the acclaimed Support Structures, Céline Condorelli has made it her artistic project to interrogate the unwritten assumptions of display structures, the authorative autonomy of the art object, and the singular identity of the artist. Additionals are the cast – asked to play various roles, to stand in for different purposes, to provide a function.
Project Arts Centre is home to a complex array of artforms, presenting all forms of performance across two black box theatres, and the visual arts in a functional white cube. This then is the context that we are asking Additionals to activate, through collaboration with one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies, The Company. The exhibition, Additionals, will become the site of The Company’s generative process, as the five structures become their cast. Just as the structures are unpredictable as to what they might or might not mean, so too is the practice of The Company – a company that has repeatedly mined its own theatrical form in an attempt to disrupt conventional theatre, but which also embraces those conventions as the scaffolding of meaning. The Company’s work with Additionals will be to unpick this scaffolding of meaning that the occupation of a theatre implies:
“We are theatre makers. We create relationships, moments and meaning. Our actions are designed to attribute sense to a construction that could otherwise remain perfectly senseless. But it is the powerful faculty of senselessness and meaningless that the naked stage possesses that gives it the potential to be a subversive or revolutionary space. It is an act of resistance to remain without meaning, without use, in a context voracious in its appetite for classification, categorisation and subsequent consumption. We want to know these five structures as objects. We want to strip away the impulse to narrativise them as props, or manufacture any sort of representation. We want to know them, and communicate something that is devoid of a readable meaning. And that, coming from the narrative-driven field of theatre, is our radical position for this encounter with Additionals” (Jose Miguel Jimenez, The Company).
And thus we present, with as yet unknown outcomes: Additionals – Céline Condorelli, featuring The Company.
The Tiger’s Mind, the text-based score of British avant-garde composer Cornelius Cardew (1967) and from which Additionals originates, is also presented in two scenes, Daypiece and Nightpiece. It includes six characters, who were each adopted in a project initiated by filmmaker Beatrice Gibson and typographer Will Holder, with Jesse Ash as ‘Wind’, Condorelli as ‘Tiger’, Gibson as ‘Circle’, Holder as ‘Amy’, John Tilbury as ‘Mind’, and Alex Waterman as ‘Tree’. Journeying as ‘Tiger’ through the score and the characterisations of the other participants, Condorelli created the set of objects that is Additionals – a work originally commissioned by Pavilion, Leeds.
As part of Céline Condorelli’s on-going engagement with collaborative episodes for this work, Project Arts Centre is delighted to bring together the two prominent strands of our artistic programming, in this unique and exciting artistic collaboration.
Project Arts Centre hosted two conversation events to tie in with Céline Condorelli’s work here. Follow these links for more:
Céline Condorelli and Maeve Connolly in conversation
Gill Park and Linzi Stauvers of Pavilion in conversation with Maeve Connolly
Céline Condorelli (CH, IT, UK) is an artist who works with architecture; she is the author and editor of Support Structures published by Sternberg Press (2009), and one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, an exhibition space in Birmingham, UK; she is currently Professor at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) Milan. Recent exhibitions include: ‘The Parliament’, Archive of Disobedience, Castello di Rivoli, Italy; ‘Puppet Show’, Eastside Projects, Birmingham; ‘Additionals’, Pavilion, Leeds, (2013); ‘Things That Go Without Saying’, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria; ‘Social Fabric’, Iniva, London and Lund Konsthall, Sweden; ‘Surrounded by the Uninhabitable’, SALT Istanbul (2012); ‘There is nothing left’, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt and Oslo Kunstforening (2011-12).
The Company are Dublin based theatre artists. Nyree Yergainharsian, Jose Miguel Jimenez and Rob McDermott will be taking part in Additionals.Aiming to make work that changes how theatre is made and seen by looking and learning from the everyday, recent projects include: As you are now so once were we (2013); Under the Stairs (2013); Politik (2012); Hipsters we met and liked (2012); and Who is Fergus Kilpatrick (winner Spirit of the Fringe award 2009).
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