Space that dreams Itself
September 4, 2014
7 – 10pm
Solo(s) Project House welcomes artist Milcah Bassel to create in the active lobby space this summer. Bassel is a multidisciplinary artist. Her work is an experiential investigation of body-space relations and meditative labor incorporating installation, hand-made objects, drawing, photography, video, and performance.
The artist on Space that dreams Itself: In Space that Dreams Itself, a site-specific drawing installation for Solos Project House, the stairwell serves as a formal and poetic starting point for my investigation. A variation of the stairway, the zigzag pattern poses a repetitive directional movement. Solo(s) Project House offered the unique opportunity to develop a dialogue between two rooms with almost opposite characteristics. The lobby itself – challenging and complex with more doorways than walls is unlike most lobbies. It is not a place for lingering or waiting, but functions primarily as a space to be moved through. While familiarizing myself with the “other side” of each doorway in the lobby, I discovered an adjacent room. This dark mysterious “closet” was inaccessible, serving solely as a treasure chest of salvaged dumpster finds, debris of a decaying interior, and a thick layer of dirt and dust. The process of uncovering and emptying the space eventually exposed a unique architectural find: a set of stairways leading nowhere.
In his book The Poetics of Space, the philosopher Gaston Bachelard explains-
“Thus we cover the universe with drawings we have lived. These drawings need not be exact. They need only to be tonalized on the mode of our inner space…Space calls for action, and before action, the imagination is at work. It mows and ploughs. We should have to speak of the benefits of all these imaginary actions…”
Bachelard discusses the psychology of interior spaces and how they often lend themselves to hiding, secrecy, mystery and to other personal, poetic or imagined realities. As I am repeatedly compelled to investigate “inner” spaces, I discover that the lack of content of a vacant space, can be defined either by the limits of its surrounding structure or by movement through this contained emptiness. I find there is a poetic significance to over-looked, underused and overused spaces within the built environment and this can be tapped into through drawing attention and attention to drawing. And that through a visual refrain, or rhythmic repetition there comes a kind of physical charge lending itself to an alertness of being in that space.
About Milcah Bassel: Bassel work has been exhibited at the Newark Museum 2014 Arts Annual, NJ, Soho20 Chelsea, NY, Whitebox, NY, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, Roxaboxen Exhibitions, Chicago, Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis university, MA, The Fertile Crescent Project, NJ, The Gateway Project, NJ, among others. Residencies include ACRE in Steuben WI, (IM)Possibilities Mentorship Program with Solo(s) Project House and PG Chambers School, NJ, and an upcoming residency at The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University.
Bassel holds an MFA in Visual Art from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University (2013) where she is currently a part-time lecturer, and a Post-Baccalaureate in Studio Art from Brandeis University (2011). She lives and works in Jersey City, NJ and Tel Aviv, Israel.