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Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why
October 9, 2010 – January 2, 2011
The first art museum exhibition of the acclaimed Seattle artist group Implied Violence (IV) features sculptures, costumes, props, masks, and video and photo documentation of selected past performances, as well as a new performance created especially for the Frye Art Museum’s reflecting pools. This event marks the artists’ first performance in Seattle after more than two years of national and international appearances at increasingly prestigious venues.
Intended as a primer for audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with IV, Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why focuses on the group’s exploration of the ecstatic states produced by ether, sleep deprivation, blows to the body, extreme exertion, endurance, alcohol, or bloodletting by medicinal leeches. The exhibition also explores the group’s use of elemental materials such as honey, felt, wax, and gold leaf, materials that have long been valued by human beings in rites and rituals.
In existence for just six years, IV has produced more than twenty-six multimedia works of increasing scale and ambition and in 2008 was the artist-in-residence at the prestigious Watermill Center, Long Island, founded by and home to renowned director Robert Wilson. Cofounded by Ryan Mitchell and Mandie O’Connell, the group showcases the art of a shifting roster of visual artists, musicians, actors, dancers, choreographers, sound artists, and others.
Many of the objects included in the exhibition were created for The Dorothy K, Implied Violence’s most rigorous and spectacular performance, a collaboration between IV and Parenthetical Girls, a Portland, Oregon-based band known for its multilayered and highly orchestrated pop songs. The Dorothy K was recently presented over three nights at the important Austrian arts event, Donau Festival 2010. This performance was produced by the Frye Art Museum, in partnership with the Donau Festival, with the support of the Frye Foundation and a number of private donors.
October 9, opening day of Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why, features a full-day performance of The Dorothy K: For Better, For Worse, and Forever performed in the Frye’s reflecting pools. Every hour on the hour an archer will shoot twenty homemade wooden arrows into a target, a beautifully crafted sculpture of paraffin wax, while a small group of performers execute slow, silent movements in the Museum’s reflecting pools as the water rises up the legs of their costumes. Monumental kinetic sculptures, one in each of the two bays on the east wall of the reflecting pool, will be set in motion by sentinels watching over the activities in the pool below. Over the course of the daylong performance, the archery target, freestanding in the water at the south end, will be filled with arrows, completing the artwork.
When the artwork is completed it will be ceremoniously lifted from the pool and carried into the Museum, where it will be placed in the exhibition. A sound score, produced live on-site, will play both outside the Museum and inside the Frye Café. This performance and works in the exhibition are supported by funding from the 4Culture Site-Specific Program and the Mayor’s Office for Arts and Culture.
The title of the exhibition at the Frye Art Museum—Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why—is a phrase from a short story by American poet Gertrude Stein, whose writings have deep resonance for Implied Violence. “It connotes a heady mix of human desire, avarice, pride, despair, and striving” notes Robin Held, Frye Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Collections, and curator of the exhibition. “Its verbal construction with a dense visual result, its breathless repetition-with-a-difference, its change-within-difference, is territory long occupied by IV.”