This summer, Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Transboundary, the gallery’s first exhibition with the New York-based Naama Tsabar. Known for performances, installations and sculpture informed by aspects of music and nightlife, Tsabar focuses on the often hidden elements and materials that are at play in constructing physically immersive environments. Her practice oscillates between visual arts and music with reconfigurations of guitars, strings, amplifiers, microphones, cables, gaffer tape and speakers. When interacted with, these objects offer compositions that are both visual and sonic.
On July 12 at 6:45 PM and 7:30 PM, Tsabar will perform during the opening reception at 297 Tenth Avenue, her first public performance in New York City since Composition 20 on the High Line, last fall. The performance is free and open to the public with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 212 563 4474.
Transboundary will feature five new sculptures, the latest evolution in her Work on Felt series, which she first began in 2012. These works are made of industrial materials such as felt, carbon fiber and epoxy and employ her nocturnal color palette of black, dark blue and burgundy. At first glance, Tsabar’s Work on Felt series shares a number of formal qualities with their hard edge and post Minimalist predecessors: Ellsworth Kelly’s shaped canvases, John McCracken’s leaning planks, and Robert Morris’s 1960s felt works all come to mind. However, Minimalism’s stern austerity of material and strict geometry is softened in Tsabar’s sculptures by the felt and its curving slopes. The material appearance of the work is challenged by its ability to maintain a high degree of tension by a piano string and guitar-tuning peg held in a delicate balance on the wall. Felt, often an unseen component within musical instruments and used to damper and absorb sound, is paradoxically front-and-center in these objects.
In the still of an empty gallery, the Felts stand silent, but as strings are plucked, the border between viewer and participant is crossed, shifting the sculptures from the realm of the visual to the sonic. It is at that moment that the works reveal their multi-layered existence as both sculptures and instruments. During the opening night, Tsabar and her collaborating musicians will perform a new musical composition written on the felts. Activating the works by playing, stroking, pushing, drumming, strumming, and confronting them, they establish a choreography of movement through an energized, sensual encounter. Tsabar has long worked as both a musician and an artist, allowing her to traverse and crossover between the two disciplines. The ostensibly soft material becomes the primary facilitator of sound as a single note is played and heard through an amp. The sculptures are temporarily transformed into musical instruments, and the gallery becomes a space filled with sound.
Naama Tsabar (1982, Israel) has performed most recently at Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past March, and the Public Sector curated by Nicholas Baume at Art Basel Miami Beach 2016 with the commissioned piece, Composition 18. Her work was part of the acclaimed feminist group exhibition, Escape Attempts, curated by Kathy Battista at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in Los Angeles this spring. Upcoming exhibitions and festivals include: Prospect.4, New Orleans; SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival, Dallas; Culture Hole at the Power Station, Dallas; Basilica SoundScape, Hudson, New York; and Sonic Arcade at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York.