Whitney Biennial 2012

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide allows visitors to hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2012 Whitney Biennial exhibition.

Leonard Peltier (b. 1944), _Horse Nation_, 2011. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in. (60.96 x 91.44 cm.). Collection of the artist; © Leonard Peltier. Photograph courtesy of Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

NARRATOR: The sculpture is made from replicas of walrus and mammoth tusks–materials drawn from artistic traditions indigenous to the Arctic. But its form comes from twentieth-century modernism. It’s based on Marcel Duchamp’s Bottle Rack, a so-called “readymade” sculpture that Duchamp purchased at a store and declared to be art. He was interested in what made art art. By contrast, Malinowska seems to have monumentalized an imaginary hybrid culture.

JOANNA MALINOWSKA: It's a bit of a take on collective consciousness and the idea that there are similar things appearing in different parts of the world or history and they're not necessarily related, but somewhat similar.

And I think what is also important about this sculpture to me is that I think it's important for the balance of the universe to spend some energy and effort to make something that is completely redundant [laughs]. I think this is one of those things, I guess. Although if you argue, maybe it could be used as a coat hanger or, I don't know, some kind of structure for making smoked salmon or something [laughs].

NARRATOR: Malinowska’s video also seems to be quasi- or pseudo-anthropological. It’s about making chicha de yucca.

JOANNA MALINOWSKA: It's a drink popular in Amazon and other parts of South America. It's made out of yucca, cassava, or manioc, I guess. These are three different names for the same root vegetable. Traditionally, it is made by the very unappetizing method of chewing and spitting in order to cause the fermentation process.

I'm interested in the whole process of this like almost ritualistic way of preparing it, and then testing its consumption on me and other characters.

I think my work has been very much influenced by an interest in anthropology. Here, I'm trying to become like an object of a research, so it's an interesting position for me to find myself in.