Containment Sold as Protection
This photograph is part of the artist's ongoing photo series Back Dirt. In archeological terminology, “back dirt” refers to the excavated, discarded material—such as sediment and soil—from a site that has generally been sifted for artifacts; this refuse is presumed to be of no further archaeological significance.
In 2018, Vainsencher found a stack of pages from an old French archeology book. In these pages, many objects had been meticulously cut out by an unknown person. The Back Dirt series involves photographing stacks of these pages with the holes piled atop each other—creating images that both replicate the chaos of an archeological dig while also coming together into new hybrid forms. The artist prints the resulting photographs much larger than the original pages, revealing the materiality of the cuts and tears in the paper. The prints appear to be in black-and-white at first glance; a longer look reveals the subtleties of the slightly yellowing paper or the bluish shadows the pages cast on one another.
In this composition, the artist took a photograph that had been turned into an object and returned it to a photo format. This series is a counterpart to Vainsencher’s additional ceramic practice, which draws from both historical vessels and the feminine body. In the artist's work, there is a celebration of evolving fragility.
Gabriela Vainsencher’s practice encompasses photography, video, sculpture and drawing. Through these mediums, the artist variously explores the feminine body, the archeological record, historical ceramic crafts and photography’s status as an object—among other conceptual lineages. Vainsencher frequently creates new hybrid forms that embrace the chaos inherent in our experience of history, works that celebrate their own fragility.
Gabriela Vainsencher was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1982 and was raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. The artist received her MFA from Hunter College in New York City in 2016.
Solo and two-person exhibitions of Vainsencher’s work have taken place at: CRUSH Curatorial in New York City; A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; Hanina Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel; the Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux in Le Havre, France; Parker’s Box Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; NurtureArt in Brooklyn, New York; and La Chambre Blanche in Québec City, Canada.
Group exhibitions that have shown Vainsencher’s work have taken place at: Marisa Newman Projects in New York City; Bergamo Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo, Italy; Kunstforening in Tromsø, Norway; Pierogi in Brooklyn, New York; the Freies Museum in Berlin, Germany; and the National Gallery of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Vainsencher created a large-scale wall-mounted sculpture, Mom, as part of Bronx Calling: the Fifth AIM Bronx Biennial at the Bronx Museum in New York City.
Vainsencher has participated in numerous residencies, including: Yaddo artist colony in Saratoga Springs, New York; the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida; Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, New York; The Institut Français and Triangle Arts Association in Le Havre, France; Triangle Arts Association International Workshop in Brooklyn, New York; and La Chambre Blanche, International Artist-in-Residence in Canada.
Vainsencher currently splits her time between New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
This photo was made by stacking cut-up pages from an archeology book with the holes piled atop each other—creating images that both replicate the chaos of an archeological dig while also creating new hybrid forms. This blown-up print, appearing at first to be black-and-white, reveals the subtleties of the slightly yellowing paper or the bluish shadows the pages cast on one another.More
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