aziz + cucher

time of the empress

nov 21 - mar 14 2014

The Screening Room is proud to present an exhibition by the New York based duo Aziz + Cucher, curated by Tami Katz-Freiman on view during Art Basel 2013.

The project is based on their digital animation-installation Time of the Empress, which was part of a larger show, “Some People”, commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) in 2012. The installation consists of seven large flat-screen panels hung from the ceiling, which display animated drawings of modernist buildings in an infinite loop of construction and disintegration. Through a labor-intensive animation process, these architectural renderings appear buoyant, suspended in an endless cycle of growth and dissolution, like Towers of Babel, simultaneously rising and collapsing. Paradoxically they also possess an inherent tranquility, evoking the cycles of our economy, nature, even life itself.

Time of the Empress was inspired by the artists’ encounter with ruined buildings in Sarajevo and throughout Bosnia that stand as emblems of the 1990s war in the Balkans. The title refers to a passage from Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel Memoirs of Hadrian (1951), a fictionalized autobiographical monologue that touches upon every aspect of human existence.

All of its complexity, changeability, internal contradictions, and dependence on the whims of the body in which it is contained, imbues this work with symbolic significance. With this in mind, Time of The Empress casts a meditational glance at historical cycles of growth and decay, destruction and renewal, while also implying the impermanence of the present.