Artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart in the exhibition Nebula. Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space at Revolú Gallery
by Allicette Torres
Covid-19, since its onset, has led to an accelerated rate of change and innovation in the art world. With new currents in our ever-morphing artistic silos, I’ve decided to create a different art gallery space. It needed to be malleable to the present day—which is situated around the online, virtual, 3D sphere––while also allowing in person, on the street, pop-up variations of such. I have received some pushback as to why a digital space is needed for art, when we strive for a visceral visual or tactile experience within art. I hate to break it to some, but nobody is looking for us as female artists. And indeed, no one is coming to save us except us. Technology can offer a level playing field and affords us to innovate and have the same agility as our male counterparts.
The first exhibition by Revolú Gallery will serve as innovative and will pave the way for future artists. It’s a custom space built from the ground up (not a 3rd party service) with new technologies with real-time 3D rendering within a browser with interactive web walkthroughs. It will reside on our Revolú website, but in the future, it can also exist in other digital platforms, other 3D environments with visual headsets, and even the Metaverse.
As curators and artists, it should be our primary endeavor to figure out how to make modern tools suit us. The world is a different place than only five years ago; we can use many mechanisms to begin a worldwide conversation about art, propagate the knowledge about diverse artists, and cross international borders all within the parameters of the modern-day. Along with all of this, it must be said: technology isn’t what makes the work suitable. It can’t create or make up for things that may be lacking there. Some mediums aren’t suited for all technologies; however, the point is to make the tool––in this instance, technology––bend to the art. Men dominate technology and the art market, and this needs to come to a halt. Though it can only happen if you decide to participate as an artist or patron. Part of the Revolú gallery’s ethos is “for women, by women.”
There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists (Bocart et al.). A recent survey of the permanent collections of 18 prominent U.S. art museums found that the represented artists are 87% male and 85% white (Public Library of Science).
Just 11% of all acquisitions and 14% of exhibitions at 26 prominent U.S. museums over the past decade were of work by female artists. “Museums Claim They’re Paying More Attention to Female Artists. That’s an Illusion,” artnet News.
And I can drown you in more citations about women’s disparity to men in the artist, but why should I need to? We can sit in meetings, Zoom calls, or coffee room small talk and drone on about always being behind the eight ball, or we can use the propulsion of the start of the 21st century to turn everything on its ear. Women made great strides at the beginning of the last century, and it’s our job to do the same.
But What About the Exhibition?
Letters, characters, and logograms are visual artifacts that are powerful, palpable, yet invisible carriers of cultural knowledge through time. This 3D virtual reality exhibition intends to feature a broad stroke of artists and their work while discussing the many possibilities within the boundless confines of language and the authority of words in the present day. Two particularly highlighted fiber artists, both French, from this exhibition are 1011 and Capucine Bourcart. They share in creating tiered storytelling through textiles, found objects, and other ephemera within their bodies of work. They carry on with the idea of woman’s work. The manual labor of “craftwork” and elevate it into its proper pedestal as one of the storied first art forms of humankind as far back as 30,000 BCE as documented by Elizabeth J. Wayland Barber, a published specialist in prehistoric textiles.
“Along with cave paintings, threads were among the earliest transmitters of meaning.”
-Anni Albers, ‘On Weaving’
Both artists in the show have produced works that hit on the intersectionality of memory, womanhood, ritual, the organic, nature, and the birth of language itself. They defy the preconceived notions of words, language, typography, and the essence of communication. Artwork can become “high art” when it exists outside of the practical form. However, one of the seminal acts for art is to coalesce emotions and the human condition to translate, understand, and process culture. Both artists guide us into inner reflective spaces about human fallibility and how we navigate these paths.
In one of the installations featured, Lettres Mortes, artist 1011 recreates a series of hand-stitched photos of a letter initially made by a young Polish girl––Marie Jelen––who lived in Paris while it was occupied during World War II. Marie originally disguised her embroidery so that her letters would go unnoticed within the fabric itself. Her family was scattered because of the Statute of the Jews and the Aryanization measures during World War II by Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, her letters never reached their destination as she was gassed in Auschwitz on September 23, 1942, only a few days before her eleventh birthday. The found letters came to light from a series of four images taken secretly by a Sonderkommandos (a group of Jewish prisoners forced to perform various duties in the gas chambers and crematoria of the Nazi camp system) from inside a gas chamber in crematorium V at Birkenau in Auschwitz. The film was brought back to the central camp from Auschwitz in a tube of toothpaste where an employee in the SS canteen had hidden it. On September 4, 1944, it reached the Polish resistance in Krakow.
The Artist 1011’s embroidery is a strict reproduction of Marie’s handwriting with hesitations or errors in the spelling. The embroidery is done in black and white, tone on tone, so that the text can escape those who would not take the time to detect it.
Capucine Bourcarts’ series, Asemic Writings, journey is one of revisionist history, one to empower the voice of women. She created a book, a dictionary, words, language, and an entire universe. She is undoing the Christendom narrative, where Adam was the one who named all things in the Garden of Eden. Capucine’s sacred texts transformed discarded materials to actual 24 Karat gold. She leaves you with the questions of which materials are the holiest and the humblest. She tethers a new mystic vocabulary for those who might not have one. Who dares to open Pandora’s box of typography and secrets?
Besides the artists 1011 and Capucine Bourcart, the exhibition features artists Luana Y. Ferreira, Ph.D., Keith Josiah, Tuomas A. Laitinen, Edgar Moza, and Mario Tauchi. Thomas Ruple is the Assistant Curator.
Nebula.Protologo, Language Shifting Through Time and Space, runs from March 11th to August 12th, 2022, and is part of the wrong biennale, a global online experience.
About the Curator Allicette Torres
Allicette has been a member of the WCA since 2007 and International Chair since 2020. She is a Puerto Rican curator, arts writer, and visual artist for over 20 years. She’s undertaken curatorial projects since 2009. With her show Evidence of Things Not Seen in 2019 and artists lecture series, she tackled the invisibility of Latino artists in the arts, specifically the bluechip market in New York City. Another pivotal show was False Idols: Perspectives on Latina/Hispanic/Chicana women, an exhibition inspired by Latina identity misconceptions and truths.
About Revolú Gallery
Revolú is a newly founded art gallery in 2022 and at the forefront of utilizing new technologies such as 3D, new mediums, and innovative presentation methods to further art and artists globally. We are interested in bridging the gap for further conversations about personal, political, abstract, nascent, or experimental ideas. We are not afraid of what comes next.