Interstate Projects | 66 Knickerbocker Ave.
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Interstate Projects is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Jacob Ciocci. Working with both gallery spaces, Ciocci will create new works and installations that reflect on contemporary American culture, the family, and the depths of the human psyche, as revealed through the endless search for meaning.
Iconography of language and symbols is central to this exploration. An intermix of mediums and tones is presented to produce echoes of empathy, apathy, discord and revelation. A series of 4 foot by 5 foot panels featuring lists of slacktivist awareness causes, vague references to pop-up word ads, and hashtag self-help lures act as enlarged placards throughout the space. Text is further expanded upon with a large wall painting replicating graffiti Ciocci discovered in a college bathroom stall that ends with, “I am so fucking lost…so lost,” a phrase which seems like both confession and plea.
The use and misuse of language as a conveyor of feeling, and how the anonymity of language can play with intention, is pushed throughout the various works in the show. A word snippet or phrase reminiscent of click-bait is inserted or recalibrated, creating a space where the profound and the trivial are more similar than different.
Signs and how they captivate are also embodied in animatronic sculptures of sign waving ghosts, whose repetitious entreaties such as “Trust No One” and “#hope” bring to mind the blank constancy of 21st century lifestyle branding. The four sign-waving robots in the exhibit are also stand-ins for a family who each, regardless of age, play their part in advertising their particular version of self-messaging to the world, while simultaneously perpetually hiding themselves behind camouflage costumes.
Dark intensity suffuses into every aspect of the installation, but a video work done in collaboration with David Wightman (the other half of Ciocci’s performance group, Extreme Animals) makes this dark tension taut. Playing off of a monitor lying defeated on the gallery floor, the video features a kinetic sequence of found Youtube clips including a slowly deflating Eeyore, a giant Barney float flapping desperately in the winds of downtown Manhattan, and the repeated phrase, “Why so many Americans feel so powerless.”
In the lower gallery is a video projection featuring home videos of terrified babies, noticing their shadow for the first time. Ciocci memorializes these simultaneously traumatic and entertaining moments inside picture frames, arranged sparsely onto stock wallpaper. In this work and throughout, Ciocci is confronting alienation as a possible place of growth, as well as exploring how being an artist, or perhaps more generally just being a person, is by default warped and endlessly complicated. This show is not about overcoming confusion, rather it is about trying to communicate and connect, “no matter the cost”.
Jacob Ciocci is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY and Oberlin, OH. His performance group Extreme Animals and his former collective Paper Rad have received critical acclaim including: The New York Times; ArtReview; Artforum; Art in America and Vice.
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