Camel Collective

Grip

June 16—July 15, 2018

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 16, 6–8PM

 
 Camel Collective, 198C/1805C, 2018, detail.  Enamel, dye, steel, and oak on MDF with UV print on aluminum

Camel Collective, 198C/1805C, 2018, detail.

Enamel, dye, steel, and oak on MDF with UV print on aluminum

 

Ulterior Gallery is pleased to present Grip, an exhibition by Camel Collective, the artistic partnership of Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats. Sculpture, drawings, and a sound piece together explore the idea of labor as it relates to the artists’ practice. The exhibition will open on June 16 with a reception from 6 to 8 pm and remain on view through July 15. The artists will be present at the opening reception.

Works in Grip signal aspects of behind-the-scenes labor that are ubiquitous in the artistic sphere, gesturing at an erotics of touch and feeling that constitute our primary motivation for labor—a motivation sadly truncated and distorted by the work we are often coerced into for money, gain, or sheer survival. Anchoring the exhibition is a lead and steel sculpture, As seamless as possible, that foregrounds the physical labor that is often subsumed, forgotten, and rendered invisible beneath the patina of a “finished product.” The sculpture is cast from the hand of a gallery assistant gripping an abbreviated piece of lighting equipment (“grips” are technicians that secure camera and lighting equipment during video and photo shoots). In this sculpture, the gripped lighting equipment is abstracted, rendered a Brutalist version of itself, more cudgel than instrument. In an accompanying wall panel, hands sensually interact with lighting and camera equipment. Hovering ambiguously over the apparatus, the hands exceed an instrumental relationship to the object and instead perform a kind of erotic labor of toggling, pressing, and caressing. Complementing these works are a series of small drawings in pencil and watercolor on panel, which function as indexes to the equipment employed in the artists’ research and production process. As works in themselves, the drawings meditate on labor, time, and transparency. Bridging this suite of works is a new piece in sound (made in collaboration with Nate Harrison) that fills the gallery with the voice of a narrator (artist Elaine Byrne) as she attempts to name something that has somehow gripped her. The sound work reveals the disavowed instabilities of difference between a laboring body and inanimate material, and their capture by capitalist social relations.

Each of these works isolates and exposes aspects of labor often concealed in cultural products (images, films, music), and questions the seemingly–though rarely–stable divisions between head and hand, thought and sensation, subject and object. 

Camel Collective was formed in 2005 as a research group during a fellowship at the Whitney Independent Study Program. Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked together as Camel Collective since 2010. Their works are motivated by research into marginal histories and critical pedagogies, and employ various media and methods including video, sculpture, performance, photography, paintings, and installation. Camel Collective has exhibited and performed at museums and exhibitions including MUAC, Mexico City (2017); REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Trienal de Artes Frestas, Sesc, Sorocaba, Brazil (2015); the Bard Hessel Museum, Annendale-on-Hudson, New York (2014); Casa del Lago, Mexico City (2013); Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan, Puerto Rico (2012); Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2011); and Aarhus Kunsthalle, Denmark (2010). Camel Collective has also exhibited works at Artist's Space, Art in General, Exit Art, New York, NY; Black Ball Project, Brooklyn, NY; and the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City.