Critics’ Picks

Emily Roysdon with MPA, untitled from Sense and Sense, 2010, color photograph, 19 x 17”.

New York

Emily Roysdon

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
March 25 - May 28

For “Positions,” her debut solo exhibition in New York, writer, artist, and curator Emily Roysdon brings together three independently commissioned projects produced over the last six months. Multifaceted and intermingled, the works activate what Art in General deems a “dialectic consideration of language, choreography, and political representation.” Viewers are immediately let in on the discourse via three Constructivist-esque posters (designed with Studio SM) delineating the conceptual and iconographic DNA of each project.

The cumulative core is Roysdon’s investigation into how people move politically, socially, and aesthetically. Engaging deeply in collaboration, she is developing a vocabulary of human gestures that serve as building blocks toward her philosophy of imaginative political representation that visualizes a new order of resistance and improvisation. These gestures are depicted in the gallery via images silk-screened on square panels (If I Don’t Move Can You Hear Me?, 2010) and affixed to the walls and floor directly (Positions, 2011). In the latter, screenprints of artist Celeste Dupuy-Spencer––her body frozen and multiplied in a lexicon of poses––are presented in a tablature that reads like Muybridgean inversions; movement is hypothesized rather than broken down.

At center is Sense and Sense, 2010, a video diptych and photographic installation produced with performance artist MPA in Sergels Torg––Stockholm’s iconic public square and designated site for planned protests. Shot from fixed points above the plaza, camera 1 captures MPA laboriously inching on her side along the ground in an intensely controlled adagio-pantomime of walking at full gait. Camera 2 pulls back to reveal the scale of the square she’s barely traversing, as well as the (un)choreographed movements of passersby, quickly cutting paths across the frame. Viewed in the afterimage of the recent Egyptian revolution––staged and won from Tahrir Square––Roysdon’s insistent imagining (and imaging) of the impossible seems all the more tenable, and imperative, in the arena of aesthetic and social critique.