Dreams and ghosts

Joy Episalla works within the interstices of photography, video and sculpture. She is interested in the mutability of still and moving images as they play out through time, and in the manipulation of spatial volume, while engaging a queer/feminist perspective. The title of the exhibition comes from the title of a book found in Freud's library in London.

I work from observation. I focus on the mass of information that ordinary moments, places and objects can provide. Like a forensic examiner, studying the cracks and stains inscribed on the surface, I try to illuminate the secrets of different histories, through the evidence and residue left behind. I am interested in the sculptural possibilities of photography and video. Central to this is what I think of as the concept of 'intervening space'. 'Intervening space' fuses time and volume, in a sculptural sense, with the use of photographic and filmic modalities.

The TV series consists of photographs of the rooms where I have stayed when traveling. With the TV turned off, the room or site reflected becomes the screen content. The reflected image of the hotel room, layered with the invisible residue of others, becomes a representation of intimacy in a place where one is a stranger. A diary, of sorts, of placeless places. The photograph is taken just before checking out— not staged or re-arranged, but the room left exactly as it is. I am interested in the idea that the reflection in the dark TV screen is analogous to the receptive film plane of the camera. If television embodies the hegemonic reach of the corporation into our private lives, then I see my TV series as a small act of resistance and defiance-- by insisting on my own content and recording it. I have been photographing people's bookcases for several years; it is a hybrid of portraiture and still- life. A series of photographs that evolved out of this work were shot in Freud's study in London. There is another layer that accrues to the portrait(s) in this case, given that Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis--the attendant weight and dust of cultural history come in to play.

The blur / motion / trans project and the accompanying video are based around an on-going sculpture I have been adding to since 1992. In the early '90s I had lost many friends to AIDS, and within this experience of loss I found myself holding on to my hair— I started to collect my hair as it came out as I brushed it. I have been crocheting the hair into a sculpture which has grown taller and taller over the years. In blur / motion / trans I have re-appropriated my hair by wearing this hairy prothesis / appendage / witch's hat / dunce cap object and recording myself in motion. I am interested in the idea of dreaming as a working method and used the camera's self timer to facilitate working in a kind of blind, performative way. Metamorphic mirroring, doubling and ghosting occur: from troll to hag to witch to siren to trickster to doppelganger. I am acting as both performer and recorder, object and subject—trying to catch the intervening space of motion trails, accessing and depicting the partly conscious, partly unconscious gestures.

Joy Episalla lives and works in New York City. Her work has been exhibited widely in the US including at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Wexner Center, Artists Space, the International Center of Photography, Murray Guy, and White Columns. She has also shown at Mercer Union in Toronto, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Studio 1.1 in London, SENZA FRONTIERE / WITHOUT BORDERS Film Festival in Rome, Fenenin El-Rahhal, (Nomadic Artists) International Artists Summit in Cairo and at the Mannheimer Kunstverein. This is her first solo exhibition at Aeroplastics.

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