Artist Talk (Online): Dani & Sheilah ReStack in conversation with Fox Hysen, Maggie Nelson, and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung.
Mi/Wed, 16.02.2022, 19:00 CET. Video zum Talk / Video of the Talk:
BITTE BEACHTEN SIE: Die Ausstellung enthält explizite Inhalte und ist für Besucher*innen ab 18 Jahren empfohlen. / PLEASE NOTE: The works on display contain graphic material. Viewer’s discretion is advised.
The Kunstverein Nürnberg is proud to present the first European institutional solo exhibition “Feral Domestic“ by artists Dani and Sheilah ReStack. Premiering the completed trilogy of films “Strangely Ordinary This Devotion“ (2017), “Come Coyote“ (2018), and “Future From Inside“ (2021), “Feral Domestic“ serves as a proposal for alternative forms of inhabitation of domesticity. The trilogy suggests that love, queer desire, fantasy, collaboration, friendship and new family forms can become overlapping sites of resistance to patriarchal structures. Loosely based on a narrative about lesbian witches who can endow children with capacity to live without water, it features both staged and documentary footage from the artists’ lives. Held together in montages relying on a haptic logic of color, shape and sound, the interweaving of styles in “Feral Domestic” allow the viewer to be alive to banal and imagined possibilities of both planetary and personal survival in the age of climate change.
“Strangely Ordinary this Devotion” opens with a shot of Sheilah placing a rock inside Dani’s mouth. The camera lights her face and faded blue t-shirt unevenly against a yellow green hammock. As Dani closes her mouth, the non-diegetic sound of water bubbles begins. Suggesting a type of reversal, the symbolic ingestion of the rock releases into the world like air moving towards the surface of a lake. The next shot features Rose, Sheilah’s daughter, in the dark. Her face is lit by a screen. Then, the family is on a trip to Utah. Hunched over, they stack rocks on their backs, emulating the natural rock formations surrounding them. In the following shot a needle pierces the skin at the top of Dani’s head and a doctor proceeds to make an incision. Dani describes the incision in the broadside accompanying the exhibition. It serves to cut away the fear of parenting. These rituals in SOtD, mundane and devotional alike, generate momentary structures.
“Come Coyote” traces the artists’ attempt at having a child. “Come to be” Dani says as she fills a syringe with sperm. Moments later, Dani stands in front of the camera, accused of going back on her word “You had said you wanted a child.” Water leaks from a bag into a yellow plastic sled. Rose drags it through the snow. Sheilah drinks water from Dani’s chest. “Fluids leak whether you like it or not” the artist’s write in the broadside.
In “Future from Inside”, a pot full of water is tossed, turned, circled, emptied, held, stacked, acted upon, acted with, observed, shaped. The film traces a trip through aggregates. Dani and Sheilah ReStack travel north where ice floats in the ocean, while shots of conversations between friends crosscut.
Dani once said that the camera upsets her capacity to be in her body. Yet the work of Sheilah and Dani ReStack appears to be an attempt at closing that gap. The distances in Feral Domestic are intensely intimate. Sheilah, Dani and Rose are complicit in making work that is both of and for their lives together.
This mutual space is charged by symbolic and ritualized labor. Domestic rituals, as bell hooks has noted, can become the site of resistance to white patriarchy. Here, stacking suggests a momentary organizing principle, that continuously reifies and destabilizes any fixed notion of hegemony. Their own chosen last name ReStack is an homage to Anne Carson’s poem “Stacks”. Some stacks occur with the family, and other stacks, like the rock formations in New Mexico just seem to exist. The stacks of which the inhabitants of the trilogy are part, are simultaneously interlinked perspectives, both a momentary and ongoing form of multiplicity shared by the three protagonists of Feral Domestic.
Dani Restack’s works have been shown at Radclyffe Hall, Glasgow, UK, Gaa Gallery, Wellfleet, MA; Chapter Cardiff, UK; the 2017 Whitney Biennial; Rotterdam International Film Festival; The Ann Arbor Film Festival; UnionDocs and MoMA PS1. She has received awards from the Kazuko Trust, Eileen Maitland, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Visual Arts, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She currently works as Associate Professor of Art at Ohio State University.
Sheilah ReStack’s works have been at Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; Columbia College, Chicago; Antioch College, Ohio, The Knockdown Center, New York, The Blue Building, Nova Scotia; and Enjoy Public Art Gallery, New Zealand. She is a recipient of the Howard Foundation Fellowship for Photography, Judy Chicago Award and has received several Canada Council Project Grants. She currently works as Associate Professor of Art and Chair of Studio Art at Denison University, Ohio.
The collaborations of Dani & Sheilah ReStack have been shown at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Iceberg Projects Chicago, Toronto International Film Festival, The Lyric Theater, Carrizozo, NM, Leslie Lohman Project Space, NY, Gaa, MA and The Columbus Museum of Art, OH. They have received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. They have been residents at The Headlands in Marin County and the MacDowell Colony.