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CEILING ANALYSIS by PATRICIA L. BOYD at SECESSION [from 20221119 to 20210205]
[Photos: kunst.dokumentation.com / Manuel Carreon Lopez]
Ceiling Analysis is Patricia L. Boyd’s first institutional solo exhibition in Austria, consisting of two newly commissioned works. Its centrepiece is a large sculpture bearing the title of the exhibition, suspended from the ceiling of the Grafisches Kabinett and which further lowers the ceiling of the gallery. This sculpture is the same length and width as the ceiling of the office of Boyd’s psychoanalyst in New York. As Boyd states:
“A ceiling is part of a room, but it is also a limit. Does nearing an endpoint require a cataloguing of loss incurred along the way? There is only so much I can do to change the behaviour I repeat. I keep speaking and reworking. She is behind me.” (PLB, 2022)
This work is borne of an inquiry into the interdependency between what we refer to as “external” and “internal” (including all the various permutations of what those words might mean). It addresses the architecture of the gallery it hangs in while operating as a metaphor for the constitution of an interior individual mental space, and conversely, societal expectations of uniformity. Boyd’s exhibition is grounded in her experiences of the inclined, horizontal posture she assumes as an analysand week upon week, hour upon hour. What happens when we give up our upright, standing position, a position tied to hierarchical thinking?
The materials in the sculpture include hand-pressed, hand-etched aluminium sheets; filler; metal braces; steel; ropes; sheep wool. Layer by layer, Boyd excavates the original ceiling, reproducing its specific details and bringing its different elements together into a constellation that has no integral cohesive surface. The predominant feature of the original ceiling is a pattern that repeats across adjoining 61-by-61 centimetre mechanically pressed tinplate tiles—popular ceiling material mass-produced in the United States since the late nineteenth century. The armature and structuring element of Boyd’s work is a steel grid hanging from the gallery’s ceiling, while it suggests strength and permanence, its lower layers are fragile, seemingly lacerated, ravaged. Its weight is held by ropes, suggesting a temporary stability while making the moment of its slippage or even complete collapse imaginable. Untitled is a polymer photogravure print from a photograph the artist took of a chicken egg lying on her lap.
Boyd’s practice encompasses sculpture, photography, writing, and video. It is often characterized by a display of the negative by way of inversions, elisions, and removals.
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