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T H E P O I N T O F C O N TACT GA L L E RY

Spang ish Celeste Fichter drawing,

collage,

curated

by

photography Pedro

&

video

Cuperman


COVER: Tostar (to toast)


Spang ish NOVEMBER 17, 2011 - JANUARY 13, 2012

This exhibit at The Point of Contact Gallery in Syracuse, New York, is made possible thanks to the generous support of Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University, Vice Chancellor Eric Spina, Dean George Langford of the College of Arts & Sciences, Dean Ann Clarke, of the College of Visual & Performing Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Our sincere gratitude also to Jeffrey Hoone, Executive Director of the Coalition of Museum & Art Centers at Syracuse University.

The Point of Contact Gallery is a member of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University (CMAC).


Spanglish

Pedro Cuperman curator

Spanglish is based solely on my understanding and misunderstanding of the Spanish language according to a dictionary. Celeste Fichter

I would like to find in this quote by Celeste Fichter, a possible way of reflecting about her work. Because, like the reading or misreading of a dictionary, Fichter’s world - drawings, collage, photography and video - is grounded at the same time on the marvels of necessity and the amusements of arbitrariness. One could say that her art begins at the utopian side of language, at the creative side of reading or misreading. Why? Why would an artist convert an error into art? Maybe because in today’s so called postmodern epoch we don’t need to believe in art. Or because artistic truth, if any, is derived from language misfired at several levels: of reversing, or disregarding, or substituting - think about collage –or of even leaving it all as it is. Is error the condition of art? Is art the search for truth? And if so, what kind of truth? One could hardly stop questioning, because -to appropriate a current dominant premise - in art, or at least in Western art, one thing is required: a reservoir of meanings which keeps it thriving. This, I would like to believe, is one of the ways of approaching the world of Celeste Fichter. Art as the reservoir of the submerged side of reading, of vision, of non-existing orderings perhaps, popping up everywhere.


Spanglish tiene como base solamente mi entender y mi malentender de la lengua Española según el diccionario. Celeste Fichter

Quisiera encontrar en esa cita de Celeste Fichter una manera posible de reflexionar sobre su trabajo. Porque, como la lectura correcta o incorrecta de un diccionario, el mundo de Fichter –sus dibujos, collages, fotografías, vídeos —se arraiga a la vez en el asombro de lo verdadero y el goce de lo arbitrario. Se podría decir que su obra nace en las zonas utópicas del lenguaje, en las oscilaciones entre lectura correcta o incorrecta. ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué una artista habría de convertir el error en arte? Tal vez porque en lo que hoy se ha dado en llamar la postmodernidad no es imprescindible creer en el arte. O porque la verdad artística, si alguna, se nutre, entre otras cosas, de tergiversar, ignorar, substituir –como es el caso del collage— o incluso de dejarlo todo tal cual. ¿Es el error la condición del arte? ¿Es el arte la búsqueda de la verdad? Y si es así, ¿qué tipo de verdad? La discusión es interminable, ya que–para apropiarnos de una premisa de la critica contemporánea, la condición del arte – en el arte, por lo menos en lo que llamamos arte en occidente, una cosa es indispensable: el acopio abundante de significados. Quisiera creer que esta es una de las maneras posibles de acercarse al mundo de Celeste Fichter. El arte como depositario de los aspectos sumergidos de nuestras lecturas, de la visión, de órdenes inexistentes quizá irrumpiendo por todas partes.


Words from the Artist Spanglish is a project made specifically for the Point of Contact Gallery based on its dedication to the verbal and the visual arts and its ties to the Latin American literary and arts community. Comprised of drawing, collage, photography and video, Spanglish is based solely on my understanding and misunderstanding of the Spanish language according to a dictionary. For several months I have been reading The New World Spanish/English, English/Spanish dictionary page by page, definition by definition in alphabetical order – pronouncing aloud each word in search of words that sound like other words (in either English or Spanish), definitions that have intriguing double meanings and/or spelling that can be manipulated. As a non-Spanish speaker, the attempt to learn a new language through a list of definitions presents many limitations – however it is within the narrow confines of these limitations and maybe because of them that new understanding is created. I am interested in the fluidity of language in general as a tool of expression and visual language specifically. Word play, puns, figures of speech, metaphor, symbols and tropes are the springboards for this work. All found homophones, homonyms, malaprops, mondegreens, etc. are fair game for content and subject to dissection, misinterpretation, re-understanding and invention. Spanglish is beyond a spoken language, beyond a hybrid of the english and spanish languages – it is a visual language made up of words, images, signs and symbols. It is amateur visual bilinguistics about the dynamics of language, meaning and representation.


Palabras de la artista Spanglish es un proyecto hecho específicamente para la Galería Point of Contact dada su dedicación a las artes verbales y visuales, y sus lazos con la comunidad artística y literaria de América Latina. Entre el dibujo, collage, fotografía y vídeo, Spanglish se nutre únicamente de mi interpretación, correcta e incorrecta, de la lengua española según el diccionario. Por varios meses estuve leyendo el diccionario New World Spanish/English-English/Spanish, página por página, definición por definición, en orden alfabético –pronunciando cada palabra en voz alta en busca de palabras que sonaran como otras palabras (en español o en inglés); definiciones que intrigaran con sus múltiples significados, y/o deletreos que pudieran ser manipulados. Para alguien como yo, que no habla español, el intento de aprender un nuevo lenguaje a través de una lista de definiciones presenta innumerables limitaciones. Sin embargo, es precisamente dentro de los estrechos confines de estas limitaciones y tal vez a causa de ellas, que se crea un nuevo entendimiento. Me interesa la fluidez del lenguaje como herramienta de expresión en general y como lenguaje visual en particular. Los juegos de palabras, las figuras retóricas, las metáforas, los símbolos y tropos son el trampolín de la presente obra. Todos los choques con homófonos, homónimos, equívocos, disparates y confusiones afianzan la disección, el equívoco, la reinterpretación y reinvención de tema y contenido. Spanglish va más allá del lenguaje hablado, más allá de lo que parecería ser un híbrido inglés-español. Es un lenguaje visual hecho de palabras, imágenes, signos, y símbolos. Un bilingüismo visual neófito acercándose tentativamente a la dinámica del lenguaje, el significado y la representación.


Soy Soy (I’m Soy)


Plato’s Cave


Guano


C贸smico


Aquí


Maze


That’s Right (SOS)


Celeste Fichter www.celestefichter.com

Celeste Fichter was born in New Jersey in 1965 and holds an MFA in Photography and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has exhibited at Go North Gallery, PH Gallery, DeChiara Stewart Gallery, Islip Art Museum and the Bronx Museum of Art. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times and Village Voice. Her video work is currently in several traveling exhibitions and film festivals in Europe and the U.S. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

Education 1996 1989 1986 1984

School of Visual Arts, New York, NY Master of Fine Arts, Photography and Related Media San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA Post-Baccalaureate, Photography William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and Anthropology Middlesex Polytechnic, London, UK

Collections 2008 2006 2006 2002 2001 2000 1999 1992

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA Benjamin Weil, Executive Director, Artists Space, New York, NY Laurie Dechiara, Independent Curator, Berlin, Germany D.D. Bean & Sons, Co., Corporate Collection, Jaffrey, NH A.Manette Ansay, Author, New York, NY Julie Baranes, Independent Curator, Zurich, Switzerland HYPO Veireinsbank, Corporate Headquarters, New York, NY Henry Brimmer, Publisher, Photo Metro, San Francisco, CA


Exhibitions (a selection) 2011 Spanglish, Point of Contact at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY Subtitles VII, LiveBox Gallery at Hyde Park, Chicago, IL The Influentials, (curated by Carrie Lincourt and Amy Smith-Stewart) Visual Arts Gallery, NYC Projections, Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia Alarums & Excursions; Fuseworks, Front Room Gallery, Brooklyn, NY The Way Things Work, ATHICA, 6x6 Media Art Events, Athens, GA 2010 Entering the 4th Dimension, Barcelona Art Contemporary Festival, Fundacion Sunol, Spain GIGUK, Giessen Video Art Festival, Giessen, Germany A Light at the End of the Tunnel, (curated by Lee Wells) SCOPE Basel Cinema, Basel, Switzerland Eye-Kea Project, Basement Project Space, Cork, Ireland 2009 On Clouds, video screening, Observatory, Brooklyn, NY Perspectives, Messineo Art Projects/Wyman Contemporary, NY, NY Square Pegs, Video in the Square, Modern Fuel, Kingston, Ontario, Canada 6th Annual One Minute Fiilm & Video Festival, Aarau, Switzerland Vox Populi Gallery, Video Lounge, Philadelphia, PA (solo) Polymer, SEED video program, Hunter Museum of Contemporary Art, Chattanooga, TN 2008 Technocracy, Society for Photographic Education Conference, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA Crystallised Image, video_dumbo, Art Under the Bridge, Brooklyn, NY It’s Not Easy, Exit Underground, Exit Art, New York, NY The Future Was Then, so now what? (Nam June Paik tribute curated by Andrew Erdos) Perpetual Art Machine, SCOPE NY and Basel On the Move, video screening, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse University, NY Multiples & Editions, vol. 2, The Front Room, Brooklyn, NY and Bridge Fair, Miami, FL 2007 Northern Light, Go North Gallery, Beacon, NY (solo) Kaleidoscope Video Festival, LiveBox Gallery, Chicago, IL Multiplies & Editions, The Front Room, Brooklyn, NY and Bridge Fair, Miami, FL 2006 84 days without a fish, PH Gallery, New York, NY (solo) 2005 Catalog, SOIL Gallery, Seattle, WA


THE

POINT

OF

CONTACT

GALLERY

914 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210 • Tel. 315.443.2169

www.puntopoint.org

director & curator Pedro Cuperman managing director Tere Paniagua public relations & marketing assistant Caroline Early graphic design Anna Sofía Font web development Matthew Les


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Spanglish