Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jo-ey Tang

Workspace: What was the premise of Leverage? How did it develop and where did the title come from?

Jo-ey Tang: Paul Pescador proposed his traveling curatorial project Hollowing to The Notary Public, an apartment space that I started in 2010. I took that as an opportunity to propose a two-part exhibition to Workspace. You could say that I was leveraging my way. As artists who are involved in a multiplicity of endeavors, there’s always an unspoken but open conflict of interests. So Leverage doesn’t only refer to the New York and Los Angeles sites, but points to this fact of being an artist who exhibits, organizes shows, and runs an art space, etc. The word “leverage” also has physical, economic, social, and psychological resonances; think of it as an energy source that generates both the meaning of form and the form of meaning.

For the exhibition, I asked four New York-based artists Sonja Engelhardt, Luke Stettner, Gustabo Velazquez and Claudia Weber to create works for both sites, which turned out to have the same square footage. I am interested in the potential of an exhibition that is fractured, split, and unresolved. It is conceived with the knowledge that viewers would only experience in person just one of the two sites. The other site would have to be imagined, and later experienced online. 

WS: How do you think your role as a curator informs your artistic practice?

JT: “Curator” somehow doesn’t feel like an appropriate term. The Notary Public took place in my apartment, and it allowed me to think and move through ideas, conceptually and spatially. The artists were my accomplices. There had been a few shows in over a year, and a reading by Wayne Koestenbaum in Central Park, at the tree where Jackie Onassis Kennedy was photographed by the paparazzi Ron Galella. The reading took place on a stormy Monday last October, on the 29th anniversary of the photographs. There was no one in Central Park but the fifteen of us that gathered that evening. We traced the route of the paparazzi chase. Photography was not allowed. Wayne read the last paragraph from his book Jackie Under My Skin and then we dispersed in the rain.

As of now, The Notary Public is without a home, on the streets of Paris, waiting for something, anything, to happen.

WS: Can you tell us about the work in your current show at Exile

JT: I was preparing for the Exile exhibition when I conceived of Leverage. For Exile, there is two gallery spaces – one full and open to the public, the other empty and inaccessible. Je Suis Une Bande De Jeunes is also publishing a book of images for its BlueZines series to coincide with the exhibition.

More about Leverage here and more of Jo-ey Tang's work here

[top to bottom: Leverage installation LA, work by Gustabo Velazquez and Claudia Weber, 2011. Leverage installation NY, work by Gustabo Velazquez, 2011. Jo-ey Tang, Untitled, 2010.]