Susan Cianciolo is an artist, fashion designer and healer who lives and works in New York, NY, and whose work has made an important contribution to the intersecting histories of art and fashion during the last three decades. Cianciolo uses a variety of personal objects and archival material to produce collages, garments, textiles, installations, film, publications and perfor- mances. In 1995 she founded RUN, a fashion label with multiple iterations such as RUN Store, RUN Café and RUN Restaurant, with which she produced eleven collections between 1995 and 2001.
This exhibition is made for a New dawn, New earth, and New solar system begins with a group meditation session led by Cianciolo on the opening day of the exhibition. This moment provides a rare opportunity for both introspection and collectivity, guided by the artist while surrounded by her recent work. Participants are invited to wear jackets made by the artist. Traces of this regenerative inaugural ceremony will remain in the gallery space throughout the duration of the exhibition.
This exhibition is made for a New dawn, New earth, and New solar system provides an opportunity to consider the parallel forces at play in both Cianciolo’s artistic and spiritual work. These two practices inform one another, often becoming indistinct. Cianciolo’s multidisciplinary practice reflects a series of intuitive, interconnected digressions that take the artist from one stage to the next, forming a holistic creative vision.
Here, she presents colorful works on paper and canvases depicting small-scale, intimate scenes, which are both elusive and abstract. Some of the works are anchored in the gallery space by the strings that hold them together. The exhibition is also punctuated by a series of medium format paintings on paper in which the same geometrical pattern repeatedly appears with slight variation. The vivid color and repetitive gesture act as if they were a multitude of energetic centers, orienting the viewer. Further on, we are confronted with two tapestries made of collage, paint and stitching on large canvases. Made this summer Upstate and, left outside in the sun, they resonate in the space as receptacles of both Cianciolo’s practical life and the universal, life-giving energy of sunlight. This dichotomy between the banal and the boundless runs throughout the exhibition. On the floor, two cots covered with cushions and patchworks are placed side by side. This display, simple as it is, creates a tangible separation in the space. Evoking what might practically serve as the backdrop for one of Cianciolo’s real-world healing sessions, it is presented here as an imaginative work of mixed-media sculpture.
In addition to these recent works, Matrimonio, a film made in 1998 by fashion photographer Vanina Sorrenti starring Cianciolo alongside Aaron Rose, is shown in the exhibition. When Sorrenti recently rescued this footage from oblivion, Cianciolo immediately and naturally decided to show it. Both an extraordinary time capsule and a record of the relationship between the three individuals, Matrimonio underlines the importance of otherness and collaboration in Cianciolo’s practice.
The most precise and symbiotic experience one can have of Cianciolo’s work perhaps occurs during the waking moments following one of her healing sessions. After being traversed by new feelings and transported from the physical realm, you awake to find that the light has subtly changed. This flickering light of new beginnings is fundamental to Cianciolo’s body of work. This is the promise made by the artist: that life can be otherwise, and it is up to us to open ourselves to the possibility of a new dawn, new earth, and new solar system.