Art Exhibtion—“Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth”


Recently, ArtNews announced “Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth,” which will be on view from April 26 to August 11, 2019, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here are excerpts from a press release by R & A (Resnicow and Associates, 18 December 2018):

On April 26, 2019, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) will present the first US solo museum exhibition of Jamaican artist Deborah Anzinger. Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth brings together sculpture, video, painting, and installation, combining both synthetic and living materials, to consider geographical, ecological, and spatial paradigms. The exhibition reveals how the artist disrupts existing relationships and hierarchies as they pertain to the politics of land, the body, and space. Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth is curated by ICA Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Daniella Rose King and will be on view through August 11, 2019.

Working at the intersection of black feminist thought, geography, and space while coalescing concerns Anzinger has long held, Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth explores a plethora of issues urgently facing our civilization—the environment, the economy, and human rights–and their aggressors, capitalism, and globalization. Through the work on view, Anzinger offers intimate networks and alternative ways of being in the world as possible answers to these intersecting problems. Thinking through reproductive labor, the transference of energy, and sanctuary, the artist compounds these fields with the testimony of individuals from Jamaica as a means of re-centering marginalized voices.

[. . .] Speaking to the range of media Anzinger employs in her work, she states “The materials I bring into the paintings (aloe, polystyrene, and mirrors) embody a more complicated understanding of existence and relation to the ‘other.’ By presenting alternative narratives that challenge their traditional associations and meanings, such as transforming polystyrene into support systems for living plants, I attempt to share the envisioning of new, more equitable paradigms for value and space.”

Highlighting alternative models of being, Anzinger cites local ecological programs in Philadelphia and Kingston, including; alternative waste water systems; stormwater and rain gardens; and community gardens and urban farms undertaking important work around sustainable organic food production and composting. In the exhibition, the artist will amplify these approaches and models taking place on differing scales.

In Anzinger’s work we see the erosion of boundaries between the body and the land, as well as a re-envisioning of geography through the lens of black feminisms. Her artistic approach facilitates a new way of interrogating, understanding, and reckoning with the realities of the current Anthropocene age, considered to be the first geographical period where human activity has irreversibly affected the environment, as both a psychological and social space. In Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth, Anzinger astutely and intuitively traces the interconnectedness of economy, subjectivity, environment, history, individual action, and societal responsibility in her work through an array of complex and multifaceted forms, textures, material, and environments. Works featured in the exhibition will burst open the seams of the conservative, regressive, and inherited beliefs tightly held throughout western civilizations, and offer openings and opportunities to rethink the challenges and catastrophes facing our present and future realities.


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