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Christine Wallers

Crew Profile: Christine Wallers

Year you began at The Block: 2016
 
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What should we know about you?
 
I grew up in an immigrant family in Aurora, Illinois. I love plants and recently discovered I have a green thumb. For all the rest, check out my website.
 
Memorable experience preparing an exhibition at the Block? Or if this would have been your first installation at the Block, at another museum or institution?
 
I was hired to work “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde” at the Block. I’d never been exposed to her work; I found it endlessly fascinating. The install was a massive undertaking and, frankly, I barely remember it because it was such a beast. But the finished product, the show, was phenomenal. Moorman was just so charismatic, so compelling! I was really taken by a video of her on a talk show, wearing an evening gown, making dissonant sounds on her cello. To think that American talk shows used to invite avant-garde artists on their programs…
 
How does work as a museum preparator inform or influence your artistic practice? Or not?
 
While I’ve gained a lot of practical skills as a preparator, I’ve also become disheartened by the grandiosity, expense, and politics of so many of these shows. I’ve become seriously averse to waste, toxicity, and all the huge spectacle art that dominates many museum spaces.
 
My work has always been quiet and contemplative but this realization has made me dig deeper.
 
Where have you been finding inspiration at this time?
 
I’m studying fern fronds of different shapes and sizes as they gently catch and entangle with each other.
 
I am reading Joseph Beuys’s Energy Plan for the Western Man and looking at acupuncture textbooks. I’ve pulled out my copy of 3 X Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing. I’m thinking about Hilma af Klint getting screwed over by Rudolf Steiner and Kandinsky, and then getting screwed over by Art History and the Museum of Modern Art. I wonder why Beuys could get away with talking about mystics and mysticism in regards to his work and women artists could not. I’m thinking about Emma Kunz and predicting that she will be the next ‘How come I’ve never heard of her?’ in the “undiscovered” artist trend.
 
I’m admiring the work of Torkwase Dyson and Miho Dohi (who’s got a show now at the Renissance Society).
 
What can you share with us about the work you created for this project?
 
Copper Agnes is a site-specific installation in my studio’s west-facing, 6 X 6” steel framed doorway. I was anxious to realize this installation that until now has only resided as a sketch in my journal and as a study on my wall. It consists of copper wire and magnets: material that is reflective, conductive, attractive, and repellent. I am working with the element of energy in it’s extreme and I remind myself to respect it. Energy is a quality that I want to harness.
 
h. is the latest addition to my on-going “cut out“ series. Over the past six years, I’ve been cultivating a technique on paper that involves inking, drawing, carving, and cutting the surface of the page. This process has yielded a series of works that appear on the verge of disintegration; some of them holding on by thin fibers. This is intentional as I experiment with formal elements of shape, border, surface, and weight, testing the strength and structure of the two-dimensional page. h. deviates slightly from the rest of the series as it holds a different scale, hue, and form within the frame.
 
All my work necessitates movement. Both Copper Agnes and h. require viewers to move around the work in order to activate their energies. My installations and works on paper have always felt related and making them simultaneously during this project has shown me just how dynamic that relationship can be.

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Christine Wallers