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'But I doubt, I tremble, I see (shaking edges) and the wild thorn tree' by Giuliana Rosso & Rory Pilgrim at Pina, Vienna

Open Space and Pina are pleased to present a project by Rory Pilgrim and Giuliana Rosso, unfolding through a special mail-art commission, an edition of 100, available via Open Space and a show at Pina (Vienna), opening in May 2021. Curated by Caterina Avataneo.

Creating parallels between puberty, history and wilderness - all of dynamic character - the project proposes to look at transformative, chaotic, conflictual and emotional existence as a moment of (re)discovery of the world. Teenage becomes a point of access to frictional states; a way to consider their generative empathic potential for establishing new ways to be in the world at the end of History, as understood by western modernity.

But I doubt, I tremble, I see (shaking edges and) the wild thorn tree
brings together the work of Rory Pilgrim and Giuliana Rosso, but also the lives of Liam Neupert, Declan, Piper, Erikk, Jared and some fictional characters. They constitute different subjectivities, ages and agencies but all share a state of crisis, and the impulse for rebellion and change. With their exposed passions, internal conflicts and unstable being, they suggest that vulnerability is key for an empathic understanding of the world. They are geared to really doubt - to tremble - and thus to see. The power they care about is not controlling the future, but overwriting the past to shake off a very final end. Their present is of struggle, relational rather than exploitative, transformative rather than calcified and that’s where, as in nature and in history, renewal germinates. They can give new edges to old forms...

But let’s step back, and start from the very beginning.

In 2019 Rory Pilgrim gathered 10 Youth Climate Activists from Boise and other small towns in Idaho USA - Liam Neupert was one of them. Over a period of 2 months of workshops, field trips, vlogs and assemblies, Rory nurtured the conditions for an intimate exchange, where to explore personal struggles in a time of climate crisis. The 10 young activists shared how climate change interconnects with other aspects of their lives including family, religion, friendship, fighting for gender equali- ty and the essential need for a home. Rory captured these mo- ments in the 50 minute long film The Undercurrent, exploring the emotional means we have - collectively and individually - to articulate crisis while also catalyzing change.

The Undercurrent became the starting point for a dialogue with Giuliana Rosso, whose paintings, drawings and papier-mâché sculptures present seemingly somber atmospheres that allow to investigate interiority and its shadows, from where unusual (alternative) realities spring up. The subjects of Giuliana’s work too, are teenagers and young adults, often showing paradox- ical and contradictory - emotional rather than rational - rela- tionships with the environment that surrounds them. They are able to abandon themselves to moments of illusion, paralysis and destruction of one’s axiomatic interpretation of what is possible, whilst connecting with the real. Through them, fears materialize, imaginary presences become real and invisible powers manifest as perceptible.

But I doubt, I tremble, I see (shaking edges and) the wild thorn tree
takes its title from the 1931 novel “The Waves” by Virginia Woolf but overwrites it, allowing for interpretation. You too can participate... 

6.5.21 — 5.6.21

Curated by Caterina Avataneo

A project by Open Space (London) & Pina (Vienna) Supported by Q. International / All photos courtesy Pina (Vienna) and Openspace (London)


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