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July 9–October 16, 2022
The first solo show in the UK for LA-based artist Nikita Gale is on view at Chisenhale Gallery. Gale creates sculptures out of metal, concrete, and sound. Gale’s practice revolves around themes of invisibility and audibility, probing the shaky bond between the performance and the audience as well as structure and ruin. Gale creates dramatic, large-scale installations.
This latest commission, IN A DREAM YOU CLIMB THE STAIRS, builds on Gale’s RUINER series (2020-present), which consists of aluminum armatures that resemble crowd-control barriers wrapped in strips of cloth drenched with concrete. The beginning point for the show is Toni Morrison’s 1977 novel Song of Solomon, namely the character Circe, who lives with a group of Weimaraner dogs. Gale creates an ambitious portrayal of Circe’s feral and free domain—once a stately house, now a crumbling testament to the greed and violence of the family she once served but outlived—by quoting a sentence from the book that serves as the exhibition’s title.
The gallery is punctuated by two conical spotlights and ten-meter-long pleated theater curtains. Dog leads that have been concreteized and tied into complex knots resembling those that a dog could tie when left alone with their restrictions hang from the ceiling like chandeliers. Dogs are summoned by humans using commands, breaking the serenity of the museum. With allusion to dogs’ dichromatic vision, the sound triggers a lighting sequence that Josephine Wang, a frequent collaborator of Gale’s, developed to sporadically illuminate the show.
Gale’s installation is a manifestation of what can occur if social infrastructures for performance and visibility fall apart. How might sensory economies that are distinct from our visual-centric, human one use and navigate the remnants?
The second book in the Chisenhale Books series will be released as an extension of Nikita Gale’s commission by Chisenhale Gallery. Launching in October 2022 to coincide with the closing of the exhibition, Gale’s first artist’s book includes original essays by Chisenhale Gallery alumnus P. Staff and Dr. Bénédicte Boisseron, author of Afro-Dog: Blackness and the Animal Question, as well as an intergenerational interview with conceptual artist Barbara Kruger and a brief meditation by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hilton Als. The book by Nikita Gale was created in collaboration with Hurtwood Books, and Thames & Hudson handled international distribution.
As part of the commissioning process, a programme of talks and events has been devised in collaboration with Nikita Gale, spanning the duration of the exhibition.
Nikita Gale in conversation with Rhea Anastas
Tuesday, July 12, 7pm (onsite & online)
Nikita Gale is joined in conversation with art historian, critic and curator Rhea Anastas to discuss Gale’s new exhibition and wider practice.
Creative sound workshop with Soundhoppers
Saturday, September 10, 11am–1pm and 2–4pm
Soundhoppers, a sound exploration group run by Wajid Yaseen and Mara Bueno, will lead a workshop for children, aged 5–11, exploring deep listening in response to Nikita Gale’s exhibition.
An evening of live readings
Thursday, September 22, 7pm (onsite & online)
An evening of live readings featuring new writing responding to Nikita Gale’s new exhibition.
Crit with Imran Perretta
Thursday, October 6, 7–9pm
Artist and Chisenhale Gallery alumnus Imran Perretta joins Peer Sessions (artists Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas) inviting members of the public to share work-in-progress.
Sunday, October 9, 3pm
In association with Frieze London and East End Day, Chisenhale Gallery’s Associate Curator, Amy Jones, leads a tour of Nikita Gale’s exhibition.
64 Chisenhale Road
London E3 5QZ
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 12–6pm
T +44 20 8981 4518