MARBLE ON MARBLE
January 11–March 10, 2019
Sunday 20 January 4:00PM
Sunday 3 February 4:00PM
Sunday 17 February 4:00PM + 6:00PM
A Spool is an early cousin of the yoyo and the rosary- a pocket fidget to put one’s wishful thinking and anxieties onto; a talisman that one can immediately know how to hold and use. I carry it mostly in my left pocket and hold it mostly in my right hand. Why this is, I am not sure, but perhaps it is to distribute its presence more evenly. When holding it, I am immediately called to turn it, quick micro movements of synchronized fingers and wrist. Winding the line down just to wind it back up, only to repeat. To describe the purpose of this action is to describe daily chores, with an emphasis on the daily. It is the dailyness of it that makes it labor, yet also makes one’s body know it like a motor skill that it performs without awareness or effort. Once it is known and embodied to the point of muscle memory it becomes unclear if it is a support, a burden, a focus tool, or a reliable distraction.
A game tray is a space for the playing out of actions, relations, and intentions within set circumstances. Within seemingly rigid limitations, are openings that show up as reinvented rules, which give forth new possibilities of inhabiting space and circumstance. The solace of participating in games like this is the security and restraint of the activity within a delineated space. In this lean concave play space, what unfolds is the physical elements of composition, the cognitive rigor of logic, and the emotional endeavor of comparison between the game and life outside the game. A game tray, rather then game board, is a shallow volume. This is crucial for containment of experimentation. It literally holds that activity while allowing it to “play-out” in plain sight. The play that happens within a tray is not hypothetical or diagrammatic. Although compartmentalized, it occupies the same space as the player.
Marble on Marble
Marble as a material to be shaped and manipulated is daunting. It’s history and place in the world is weighty and patriarchal. It can feign malleability, subtlety, undulation; but it is exclusively rigid. Every time marble becomes a named thing rather than material - be it a tile, a likeness of a resting body, an ornament on a staircase - it seems self conscious, embarrassed almost. Perhaps it is because the material and the form do not see eye to eye in duration or integrity, so whatever form the stone is obliged to take can only be seen in jest. The composite stone is made up of recrystallized carbonate minerals that clumped together, mostly slowly, sometimes abruptly through catastrophe. This formation is mindless and mind numbing to think about. I’ve approached this homogeneity with it’s diminutive: clanking the stone with play marbles. The initial clang is a delineation; it distinguishes the edges of form, thus establishing a containment. I imagine the reverberation from the contact point is simultaneously a naming of the contained form and a punctuated blushing at this epithet.
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Alina Tenser's practice spans sculpture, video, and performance. Moving between these modes of working she is scratching at the same itch- to understand physical form as a transformative and manifold thing. In her work, Tenser makes and activates objects to show the movement, function, and affordance that characterize the objects. Tenser received her BFA from School of Visual Arts and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the recipient of several distinguished awards including Daedalus Foundation Fellowship, Emerging Artist Fellowship and the Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Tenser has held solo exhibitions at Konstepidemin, Gothenburg, SE, Soloway Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; AIR, New York, NY; Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY; and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at venues including MoMa, New York, NY, The Kitchen, New York, NY; Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY; The Suburban, Chicago, IL; and Laurel Gitlen Gallery, NewYork, NY; Kate Werble, New York, NY; Gallery Diet, Miami, FL;. Tenser recently completed a two year Queens Museum Studio Program residency.
Image: Alina Tenser, video still from Game with Son, 2019. Courtesy artist & 17ESSEX.