Chris Curreri: Medusa

November 28th, 2013 - February 1st, 2014

Curreri’s new portfolio of photographs, “Untitled”, focuses on the materiality of clay as it shifts between states of form and formlessness. For the past year, Curreri has been taking weekly classes at the Gardiner Museum of ceramic art in Toronto. Each week, he photographed the students’ wet, discarded projects that accrued in a mound during the class, and the recycling of this clay through a machine that compressed and extruded it as fresh, reuseable material.

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  • Medusa, 2013
  • Medusa, 2013
  • Medusa, 2013
  • Installation view of Medusa
  • Installation view of Medusa
  • Installation view of Medusa
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Untitled (Clay Portfolio), 2013
  • Virginia, 2013
  • Virginia, 2013
  • Virginia, 2013
  • Virginia, 2013
  • Installation view of Medusa
  • Installation view of Medusa

Some of Curreri’s prints feature a subtle solarization effect: a photographic phenomenon in which the image is wholly or partially reversed in tone by exposing the print to light during the development process. This process underscores a correlation between the photographic darkroom and the pottery studio by emphasizing the brief moment when the latent image is still malleable and has not yet been fixed to the photographic paper.

A faceless cement sculpture based on the iconography of Medusa contrasts with the “Untitled” portfolio. According to Greek myth, gazing directly at Medusa’s terrifying countenance would turn the onlooker to stone. For Curreri, Medusa represents the unconscious – that which one keeps from sight, which one fearfully represses. He sees the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious as being analogous to the relationship between form and formlessness.

That which is formless can only be experienced as disturbing – even shocking or petrifying – because it undoes the categories by which our conscious experience is structured. This rupture queers the categories of our upbringing, our society, our education and our habits. In this way, formlessness, while being unsettling, can also be experienced as liberating. It is the realm of potential.

Chris Curreri lives and works in Toronto. He obtained his MFA in photography at Bard College after completing a BFA in photography at Ryerson University. Curreri’s recent shows include a solo exhibition, Something, Something at the University of Toronto Art Centre as part of Toronto’s annual CONTACT Photography festival. Curreri’s work has been included in several international group shows, most recently in Surplus Authors at Witte de With (Rotterdam), An Unpardonable Sin at Castillo/Corrales (Paris) and 50 Artists Photograph the Future, Higher Pictures (New York). The recipient of several awards and grants, Curreri was presented with the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts’ Artist Prize in 2011. His work can be found in the collections of Hart House at the University of Toronto, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the Art Gallery of Ontario.