United States of America
Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else, and thinking something different Albert Szent-Gyorgy
Suzan Shutan is a multimedia artist, Sculpture teacher at Housatonic Community College. Connecticut, USA and Advisor to Master’s candidates at the Transart Institute, Danube University in Krems, Austria.
Interested in probing different artistic disciplines, her work is based on resignifying space and establishing a permanent dialogue between bidimension and tridimension, as well as transforming and playing with the materiality of the elements with which she builds her work.
During her production residency at ´ace, she became interested in investigating the landscape and emblematic places of Argentina, and later made an installation in the Polyglot Hall.
What I look for in my work is to illustrate an idea using its intended form as a springboard, creating believable though not necessarily real forms. I wish to evoke the essence of an object, remaking the known into something uncommon and transformative. I think about the ability of an image to sustain itself throughout time, to excite-provoke and feel new. By creating universals, common issues or denominators, I hope to invoke communication to a broad spectrum of people who then, make the ideas their own. Being 5 foot tall, it is not easy to create large works. You have to climb up and down ladders just to take a look at what you are making, but the idea of making an artwork that you can “walk into” in which all the variable parts add up to the whole, is just so exciting.
Installing an idea in a space,
I try to consider the architecture as an integral part of the work.
Each section or piece contributes to the whole with the work dialoguing from wall to wall and space to space. Think of a book with all its chapters and then walk into my installation considering each section as part of a larger story in which one gets drawn into an illusion through an array of visual effects.
I work between dimensions, as an investigation into perception and optics. I loved the illusional play on shape (circle as a hole) and space in Bugs Bunny cartoons where Elmer Fudd would chase Bugs into a hole in the ground, getting rid of the hole by taking it with him. Line is the obvious “hole” to work with because it can be rendered flat, given shape, depth or literally extended into space. For the most part, my work is concept driven and has always embraced “semiotics”, using form as sign, symbol or communicative behavior. Sometimes it represents universal laws on the natural world, and may show systems of life processes as subjective universes. I have worked in video for twenty-five years but just recently have begun to integrate it into my installations. What I find so appealing about this medium is that it is all encompassing. It is concept driven, time based, sensory and completes my static work. Its ability to be fluid yet manipulated is similar to my working process. I can alter the intuitive way information is recalled or processed, and can manipulate sequences and operations that will change an association or visual perception, just like I can visually change the outcome of a form.
1953 | Born in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Lives in New Haven, Connecticut, USA and in Porto, Portugal.
1988 | MFA, Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of Arts. New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
1977 | BFA, California Institute of the Arts. Valencia, California, USA.
2003 | Palace Ujazdowski. Warsaw, Poland.
1996 | Rogue Art Gallery. Victoria, Canada.
1993 | Kunstferin, East Berlin and the University of Freiburg. Germany.
American-Colombian center. Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia.
The Alternative Museum. New York, USA.
Henry Street Settlement. New York, USA.
WAX Gallery. New York, USA.
Souyun Yi Gallery. New York, USA.
2007 | Taconic Berkshire Foundation. New York, USA.
2003 | CEC Artslinks. New York, USA.
1996 | New York Artists. New York, USA.
1996 | Art Matters. New York, USA.
1994 | Connecticut Commission on the Arts. Connecticut, USA.
1996 | Yaddo, Saratoga Springs. New York, USA.
1993 | Bemis Foundation. Omaha. Nebraska, USA.
Suzan Shutan performed a site-specific installation in which the walls, floors, and ceiling of the Ace Polyglot Hall served as a giant map of Argentina. In the work process they determined: is it possible to define a country even though its history and fictions are always changing?.
The exhibition created unexpected visual trajectories and dialogues from a place explored and interpreted by the artist but to which she had not yet traveled or traveled.
The installation included video material, sound, engraving, drawings and paper sculptures that made up a psycho-geography of various regions of the country and desired paths of migratory movements. A sensory experience was built that articulated contemporary notions about what it means to inhabit.
Artists in dialogue
Crossings emphasized interrelationships between the installations of two American artists of different generations and with different concerns. However, the works they did during their residency with us, express some common ground where the dimensions of time, space, knowledge and geographical movements are implicit.
Suzan Shutan claims that being 5 foot tall and possibly having a Napoleon complex, it is not easy for her to create such large works. The artist comes from the field of sculpture and is passionate about creating spaces (often deceiving the eye) and inmersive site-specific installations. It always starts with materials found in “the corner store”, in this case straws, wool, light wood sticks or packages of metallic and opaque colored paper. Her leafy imagination awakens our senses while she describes with humor and self-criticism her ignorance of an Argentina that was imagined, before residence, in her home in Connecticut. Thus, she represents the Iguazú Falls only with a wavy line that reflects multiple colors on the wall, whose movement and sounds are similar to water, or the Boca and River soccer clubs with hexagons of wooden sticks that resemble soccer balls. Her sculptural works are understood at the same time as drawing, since it is the line that creates the volume.
On the other hand, Michelle Murillo is an artist who comes from printmaking but who constantly seeks to expand the vocabulary of print and the multiple in an interdisciplinary context. Her work can be broadly understood as a practice of archiving: the lost, found, re-membered and collected. Her installation is exquisite and elegant. The transparency of the glass with opaque silkscreen prints on top and its reflections on the space is poetic and at the same time ungraspable, like the memories it evokes.