Whitney Biennial 2017
Audio Guide Playlist


Christopher Lew: KAYA is a collective that’s comprised of two artists, Kerstin Bretsch and Debo Eilers.

Narrator: Christopher Lew.

Christopher Lew: They both have their own practices. Kerstin is largely known for making paintings and Debo is primarily a sculptor. The name of the collective KAYA stems from a family friend of Debo’s, and one of the impetuses for their collaboration is to actually create works that were intended to be sold to raise money for Kaya’s own college tuition. So Kaya in a way becomes a certain kind of inspiration or muse for the project, but she’s also a kind of infrequent collaborator.

Mia Locks: I think what’s interesting about their collaboration is it’s always this kind of constant negotiation between their individual practices and this, what they call a kind of third consciousness or the kind of combined effort of them working together.

Christopher Lew: The hanging pieces that KAYA creates, which they call body bags—they’re these painted objects that are suspended by these long black strapping, that are painted on, but then they also have sculptural pieces that are kind of collaged right onto it. And both Kerstin and Debo were trying to find a way to think about them that sits beyond the language that we usually use for both painting and sculpture.


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