Author Archives: ficusinterfaith

Monarch & Eucalyptus Terrazzo Entry, 2019

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Ridgewood Reservoir

Tournesol

The traveller who crossed the Halles at the end of summer
Was walking on her tiptoes
And across the sky despair furled its big calla lilies such beauties
And in the handbag was my dream that bottle of salt
Solely breathed by God’s godmother
Torpors spread out like steam
At Chien qui Fume
Where pro and con had just entered
The young woman could be seen only poorly and in profile
Was I dealing with the ambassadress of saltpeter
Or the white curve against the black background which we call thought
The ball of the innocents was in full swing
The lanterns caught fire slowly in the chestnut trees
The lady who cast no shadow knelt down on the Pont au Change
In Rue Gît-le-Cœur the pealing was no longer the same
Night’s promises were kept at last
The carrier pigeons the emergency kisses
Joined with the beautiful unknown one’s breast
Thrusting under the crepe of perfect meanings
A farm prospered in the midst of Paris
And its windows looked out on the Milky Way
But no one was living in it on account of the guests
The guests that one knows are more devoted than ghosts
The ones like that woman seemed to be swimming
And into love there enters a little of their substance
She takes them in
I am not the plaything of any sensory power
And yet the cricket that sang in the ashen hair
One evening near the statue of Etienne Marcel
Shot me a knowing glance
André Breton it said may pass through

André Breton, 1923
translation by John Hayes

Ficus Interfaith

 

 

 

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Ficus Interfaith is a collaboration between Ryan Bush (b. 1990, Denver, CO) and Raphael Martinez Cohen (b. 1989, New York, NY). The artists, who live in New York City, met at the Rhode Island School of Design and have been working together since 2013. Ficus Interfaith were recent artists in residence at 2727 California Street (Berkeley, CA) and Shandaken: Storm King (New Windsor, NY). Their work has been exhibited at Kai Matsumiya (New York, NY), From the Desk of Lucy Bull, (Los Angeles, CA), Interstate Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Prairie (Chicago, IL) and they were participating artists for Clay Club 2018 at SculptureCenter (Queens, New York) and NOSCHOOL in Far Rockaway, NY and Berkeley, CA.

 

Rubus Armeniacus (Himalayan blackberry)

“Rubus Armeniacus is an exemplary political decoration, a nutritious ornament that clandestinely modifies infrastructural morphology. Here, affect invades the center. Rubus inverts and puns upon the proprietous subordination of affective expenditure to intelligence. Tracing a mortal palimpsest of potential surfaces in acutely compromised situations, Rubus shows us how to invent. This is the serious calling of style.”

– Office for Soft Architecture, Rubus Armeniacus: A Common Architectural Motif in the Temperate Mesophytic Region (Cabinet Magazine, Issue 6 Horticulture, Spring 2002)

 

Decoration is a poetic and political force. Though the Arts and Crafts movement advocated for decoration’s importance, the decorative arts succumbed to society’s shift towards machine production and division of labor. The result was the chastening of decorative arts into “design” – a cultural form that became inextricably linked with the growth of capitalism. Modernism’s disavowal of ornamentation engendered a negative relationship between Western architecture and anything that could be thought of as “decorative”. Recently, decoration has been somewhat rehabilitated as a concept in art and architecture, but it remains politically fraught.

To decorate one’s home is an artistic practice, but it is always situated in the economy and the pursuit of exchange value. Interior decorating displays one’s taste and style through the collection and curation of objects and furnishings. The formal focus of Modernist discourse often obscured hidden layers of social and economic determinants, but decoration always has some political content. Through consumer culture, home decoration posits the inhabitant within the field of social capital as a means to justify materialism. It is not a mere visual spectacle. It is also a mechanism that reinforces and disseminates the encoding of socio-political structures, and thus reifies capitalist ideologies. Decoration facilitates and reproduces privileges and class status and with that, exclusion.

Today, the domestic environment can be considered one of the primary sites where radical change is taking place in everyday life. We exist in a moment in which we are able to reassess the line between leisure and labor. Like many activities today, decorating is both pastime and work. It’s a hobby that makes home life more pleasurable, while at the same time adding to the value of one’s financial and social capital, bolstering the overall value of the home.

Rubus Armeniacus (Himalayan blackberry) presents works by nine artists and architects. The works offer ways to understand the rapid social, economic, and environmental shifts our increasingly neoliberal society is undergoing today, and attempts to unpack the implications of decoration as a carrier of both personal and political meaning.

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Featuring works by Denise Scott Brown (b. 1931, Nkana, Zambia), Milano Chow (b. 1987, Los Angeles, CA), Samuel Farrier (b. 1989, Woodland, CA), Ficus Interfaith (Ryan Bush, b. 1990, Denver, CO and Raphael Martinez-Cohen, b. 1989, New York, NY), Nora Maité Nieves (b. 1980, San Juan, PR), Kayode Ojo (b. 1990, Cookeville, TN), Sean Raspet (b. 1981, Washington, DC), Libby Rothfeld (b. 1990, New Brunswick, NJ), and Allan Wexler (b. 1949, Bridgeport, CT)

Curated by Jessica Kwok

 

Jessica’s Apartment is open by appointment only To schedule an appointment: email jessica.s.kwok@gmail.com or call +1 (347) 443-3549 For press inquiries: email jessica.s.kwok@gmail.com

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Water Chesnut Frieze, 2019

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David Wojnarowicz
Untitled (Buffaloes), 1994

 

David Wojnarowicz was an artist, writer and AIDS activist who fought societal homophobia with his art. His work is pervaded by the frustration of not being able to belong to what was considered beautiful and fair. This position continually fluctuates between the desperate desire to be loved and the irresistible attraction to all that society condemns: homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, drugs, rebellion. So, let’s celebrate this month with some of his touchings words from his “Close to the Knives”,

“In loving him, I saw a cigarette between the fingers of a hand, smoke blowing backwards into the room and sputtering planes diving low through the clouds. In loving him, I saw men encouraging each other to lay down their arms. In loving him, I saw small-town laborers creating excavations that other men spend their lives trying to fill. In loving him, I saw moving films of stone buildings; I saw a hand in prison dragging snow in from the sill. In loving him, I saw great houses being erected that would soon slide into the waiting and stirring seas. I saw him freeing me from the silences of the interior life”.

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The Icebergs, 1861, Frederic Edwin Church

Psychoanalysis: An Elegy

What are you thinking about?

I am thinking of an early summer.
I am thinking of wet hills in the rain
Pouring water.  Shedding it
Down empty acres of oak and manzanita
Down to the old green brush tangled in the sun,
Greasewood, sage, and spring mustard.
Or the hot wind coming down from Santa Ana
Driving the hills crazy,
A fast wind with a bit of dust in it
Bruising everything and making the seed sweet.
Or down in the city where the peach trees
Are awkward as young horses,
And there are kites caught on the wires
Up above the street lamps,
And the storm drains are all choked with dead branches.

What are you thinking?

I think that I would like to write a poem that is slow as a summer
As slow getting started
As 4th of July somewhere around the middle of the second stanza
After a lot of unusual rain
California seems long in the summer.
I would like to write a poem as long as California
And as slow as a summer.
Do you get me, Doctor?  It would have to be as slow
As the very tip of summer.
As slow as the summer seems
On a hot day drinking beer outside Riverside
Or standing in the middle of a white-hot road
Between Bakersfield and Hell
Waiting for Santa Claus.

What are you thinking now?

I’m thinking that she is very much like California.
When she is still her dress is like a roadmap.  Highways
Traveling up and down her skin
Long empty highways
With the moon chasing jackrabbits across them
On hot summer nights.
I am thinking that her body could be California
And I a rich Eastern tourist
Lost somewhere between Hell and Texas
Looking at a map of a long, wet, dancing California
That I have never seen.
Send me some penny picture-postcards, lady,
Send them.
One of each breast photographed looking
Like curious national monuments,
One of your body sweeping like a three-lane highway
Twenty-seven miles from a night’s lodging
In the world’s oldest hotel.

What are you thinking?

I am thinking of how many times this poem
Will be repeated.  How many summers
Will torture California
Until the damned maps burn
Until the mad cartographer
Falls to the ground and possesses
The sweet thick earth from which he has been hiding.

What are you thinking now?

I am thinking that a poem could go on forever.

Jack Spicer1925 – 1965

Archaic Torso Of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Impossible Friendships

For example, with someone who no longer is,
who exists only in yellowed letters.

Or long walks beside a stream,
whose depths hold hidden

porcelain cups—and the talks about philosophy
with a timid student or the postman.

A passerby with proud eyes
whom you’ll never know.

Friendship with this world, ever more perfect
(if not for the salty smell of blood).

The old man sipping coffee
in St.-Lazare, who reminds you of someone.

Faces flashing by
in local trains—

the happy faces of travelers headed perhaps
for a splendid ball, or a beheading.

And friendship with yourself
—since after all you don’t know who you are.

TRANSLATED BY CLARE CAVANAGH