nevernotmusic: a solo show at Roman Susan Gallery
nevernotmusic addresses the quiet solitude of Chicago winter and the subsequent longing for solace (in metaphor, in language, in each other). Relying on accidental camaraderie and tenderness I create visual and textual scores that play with the wonder of being alive even as they contemplate grief and loss.
The work is built by asking piercing questions, deep listening, and the seeking of connections. The gallery walls are covered in scores such that each image and phrase fragment is a gift of tenderness, attention, permission. These are moments of generosity to the self, to friends, to collaborators, to the audience, and to the space itself.
nevernotmusic and I seek a multiplicity of responses to the scores: a tug of war between poetic and instructional, comprehensible and nonsensical and playful, accessible and secretive. To further layer the scores with the body of my personal history I lean deep into the room of my mouth calling into play my mother tongue, Hindi, thus making room for secrets, distance, confusion and empowerment.
In keeping with this need for multiplicity of experience and to address the cycles of reperformance and notation, I have invited 16 Chicago artists to activate the gallery with live performances. I have devised individual scores for each artist, such that each activation stems from a need, a query, or a budding intersection of our practices.
On Sunday afternoons, artists perform in proximity and response to nevernotmusic, creating scenarios for participatory and interactive activations at the gallery. These performances too are gifts of a kind, gifts that let us feel together in this feeling of being alive, alive in the winter, alive in a messy world, and somehow alive and less alone.