Suzan Shutan Becoming...

29.08.2014 – 15.02.2015 Suzan Shutan Becoming...

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art

curator: Jacek Malinowski
collaboration on the side of Zachęta: Julia Leopold

It was understood a long time ago that a patch of colour applied to a face, a line drawn with charcoal on a limestone vault or a stone worshiped as an amulet may alleviate any trauma, make life bearable and convert a boring process of vegetation into a string of inexhaustible adventures and surprising events. Contents and forms were combined in inseparable pairs, encoding any activity in sequences of causes and effects. Red was associated with aggression, yellow with fire and green with peace – indicating directions for interpretations, modes of naming or codes of signs and symbols.

Common to all the work of the American artist Suzan Shutan is the act of marking out a line in space, of encoding emotions through the use of colour, of highlighting the uncommon and ephemeral characteristics of composition with the help of a moving shadow or a viewer’s interference. The artist is inspired by the spores of plants carried on the wind, by flocks of flying birds, by the movement of travellers filing out of subway trains – which she arranges into sets and systems. In the interpretation of these phenomena, an element of inconsistency is included – a disregard for minor imperfections that creates an impression of freedom and spontaneity. Shutan’s practice does not end up in balanced or speculative abstraction – it becomes a true, simple and dynamic visualisation of movement, light and colour in which the ability to communicate is an important founding principle.

Becoming is an installation consisting of hundreds of pompons – a set of inconspicuous coloured dots installed in space in a spontaneous, but well thought through configuration. The flexibility, mobility and modularity of the wired ‘fluffy atoms’ – which viewers can touch and set in motion – constitutes a spectacular performative aspect, liberating the composition from abstraction’s pomposity or conventionality. And this leads directly to a process in which a known and proven order undergoes a transformation of becoming something completely new.

‘In using artistic freedom to transform reality and transpose realism into abstraction, my installation becomes representative of the ethereal aspects of nature: it underlines their transitional character, and also the temporality of the process of becoming as a synonym of the creative process’ – said the artist a few days before getting down to work.

Jacek Malinowski

Suzan Shutan – American sculptor and installation artist, lives and works in New Haven, USA. She is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey and California Institute of the Arts. She teaches Sculpture at Housatonic Community College (Connecticut) and is a mentor for MFA students at Transart Institute (New York City & Berlin) and Vermont College of Norwich University.

Her work has been shown throughout the United States at The Laguna Art Museum in California, The Contemporary Art Center in Las Vegas (Nevada), The Aldrich Museum (Connecticut) and The Alternative Museum (New York). Exhibitions abroad include: Inventaire – Contemporary Art International, Le Hang’Art, Grenoble (2012); Maniac Episode 3 International Sonderausstellung, Hamburg Rathaus & Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg (2012); Antayla Museum, Turkey (2011); Golden Parachutes, Berlin (2011); Poliglota Gallery, Buenos Aires (2008); and CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2003).

Shutan has been awarded grants from: CEC Artslink, Art Matters, Berkshire Taconic Foundation  and has attended artist residencies at Bemis Foundation, Yaddo and Proyecto Ace. Her work can be found in private and public collections, such as the Villa Taverna Foundation and the Swedish Archives in Bjaard.

Related media
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  • Grafika obiektu:
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  • Grafika obiektu: Suzan Shutan
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    Suzan Shutan


Suzan Shutan
29.08.2014 – 15.02.2015

Zachęta – National Gallery of Art
pl. Małachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw
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Godziny otwarcia:
Tuesday – Sunday 12–8 p.m.
Thursday – free entry
ticket office is open until 7.30 p.m.

partner: U.S. Embassy in Warsaw