Casemore Kirkeby Gallery
Suné Woods: This Body is Alive
September 8—November 17, 2018
Suné Woods’ beautifully paced and installed exhibition invokes a dreamy world, aqueous yet earthly, in which bodies are alternately at rest and in motion. Movement is either portrayed directly – a 21-minute video features Woods in the ocean, a yellow jackfish swimming around her – or implied, in complex, dimensional photographic collages, their paper roughly formed into bas reliefs. Across the end of the main room, visitors may rest on a triangular thigh-high platform covered in purple shag carpeting.
The platform and the video serve as a frame for the photographic works in the two main rooms. Woods’ found-image collages behave more like objects than images, offering a pleasantly unsettling visual experience. Their deeply crumpled surfaces obscure fragments of bodies, landscape and sky into irregular shapes that subvert any kind of conventional expectations of how photographs are supposed to behave. A grouping of seven such pieces (Of Water 1-7, all 2018) seems at first to be a constellation of pure form. Close inspection reveals that, within their pale gray tonality, bleached-out views of ocean waves can be seen below a low horizon and a blank, pacific sky, like a memory half hidden from conscious view behind the constant chatter of daily life. As a reminder of our relationship to (and dependence on) nature, these and other of Woods’ works also function as metaphors for our interdependence, not only with other species, but each other.
A sound installation plays over the carpeted platform at a discreet volume. Combining Tibetan bells, crickets, the voices of two performers and gurgling water sampled from the video of Woods and the jackfish, it subtly alters the viewer’s experience of the entire show. Delicate shards of music and beautiful noise seem to reify the fragmented figures in Woods’ collages, clarifying their poetic message.