Works by Coco Klockner
June 28-July 28, 2018
Esther Klein Gallery
Curated by Meredith Sellers
In the winter of 2017, artist Coco Klockner started the gallery Ghost. Ghost was a structurally compromised, dilapidated barn with a crack running through the foundation. Parts of the walls were rotting or missing entirely, and the space had no running water or electricity. It existed in a rural corner of southeast Connecticut, and over the course of three exhibitions it never had any visitors. Instead, Ghost’s exhibitions were seen—by everyone except Klockner—online only, through a webpage built by the artist. The nondisclosure of physical location and the barn’s specificity of place furthered the notion of the web as the native viewing ground for (web)site-specific work as it solely occupied a virtual, rather than physical, space for its viewers.
Ghost’s first show, Edith’s Ghost, was an exhibition of Klockner’s own work. The exhibition ruminated on the idea of the memory palace, a mnemonic device first developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, wherein one can use the memory of a specific architectural space to embed information to be memorized. Drawing parallels between this ancient technology of virtual place-building and the virtual space of the internet, Edith’s Ghost used a series of sculptures and images to further extrapolate ideas about space, memory, and narrative. Even its web address, ghostfeaturefilm.com (a reference to the 1990 film Ghost), wryly pointed to the artifice of image-making and directed to a muddled video walkthrough of the space, lit only by Klockner’s cell phone as wind howled and snow fell outside.
In this context, the failing, barely-structural barn itself becomes a metaphor for the failures of our own projected self-image and the structured binaries of our physical selves. Marking a bodily transformation, the titular Edith, wife of Lot in the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, is transformed in Klockner’s approximation into a stacked column of equestrian salt licks.
In Klockner’s re-presentation at Esther Klein Gallery, Edith, the virtual has been transmuted back into the physical, seen now in the context of EKG’s own space in the transient non-place of a corporate lobby. These sculptural forms retain narratives of a previous time and place as well as the disembodied experience of their virtual forms, presented here with new works made from the walls of the barn that was Ghost. Klockner’s works in Edith approach an expanded notion of virtuality, one that familiarly alters our everyday realities through technologies, but which can simultaneously mark our material worlds.
All photos by Jaime Alvarez