Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents Brendan Fernandes' "Inaction" October 2 through December 8, 2019

Wesleyan University's Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery presents Brendan Fernandes' "Inaction" October 2 through December 8, 2019
Brendan Fernandes: "Inaction"
Brendan Fernandes, “Free Fall: For Camera.” 2019. Video still. Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
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Middletown, Conn."Inaction," a new sculptural and performance-based installation by Brendan Fernandes, co-curated by Associate Director of Visual Arts Benjamin Chaffee and Exhibitions Manager Rosemary Lennox in collaboration with Fernandes, will be on view in Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, located at 283 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown, Connecticut, from Wednesday, October 2 through Sunday, December 8, 2019. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from Noon to 5pm; Thursday from Noon to 7pm; and Friday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm. Admission to the gallery and performances is free and open to the public. Please see below for more information about the exhibition, the artist, and related events.

The exhibition will be closed from Friday, October 18 through Wednesday, October 23, 2019; on Sunday, October 27, 2019; and Monday, November 25 through Monday, December 2, 2019.

About the Exhibition
Brendan Fernandes' "Inaction" consists of sculptural elements, platforms, a large carpet, ropes, and a single channel video projection. Straddling both the visual arts and dance, Fernandes worked in collaboration with the architecture and design firm Norman Kelley to design mobile dance supports and platforms for activation by the audience and dancers. In public performances throughout the exhibition, Fernandes’ choreography will guide dancers to interact with the minimalist, sculptural installations giving them agency to rearrange the sculptures—allowing new spaces in which to create movements and to be seen or unseen in the exhibition space.

"Inaction" investigates the political and social implications of the queering of a space, where tensions are at play between freedom and oppression. Working with both professional dancers and dancers from Wesleyan’s student body costumed by Rad Hourani, Fernandes will choreograph a vocabulary of movements unique to the exhibition space. Rehearsals and performances throughout the run of the exhibition will include call and response games and hide-and-seek inspired choreographies, working to activate the allegory between physical and political forms of resistance.

Building on their previous collaboration "Master and Form" (2018) at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, and also featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial in 2019, Fernandes and Norman Kelley have found a generative merger of art and architecture. At the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Fernandes expands on this inquiry to ask the audience about the ideologies that we bring to a space and the ways we are affected and influenced by its design. The exhibition will also be the first U.S. presentation of “Free Fall: For Camera,” a single-channel video examining the choreography of falling, the accidental fall on stage, the fall that alters the body, or the last fall a body takes. “Free Fall: For Camera” developed from a project called "Free Fall 49" that honors the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting. Dancing operates as a form of reclaiming the possibility of means and of space that was threatened in this violent attack.

After Wesleyan, the exhibition will travel to two co-producing venues: the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois in spring 2020, and to the Richmond Art Gallery in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada in fall 2020.

The exhibition is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

About Brendan Fernandes
Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, his projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest, and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, his projects take on hybrid forms: part ballet, part queer dance hall, and part political protest, always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. He is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and is currently the recipient of a 2017 Canada Council New Chapter grant. His projects have shown at the Whitney Biennial (New York); the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); and MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. He is currently artist-in-residence and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Upcoming projects include solo presentations at the Noguchi Museum (New York) and the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco). For more information about Brendan Fernandes, please visit https://www.brendanfernandes.ca.

About Norman Kelley
Norman Kelley, LLC was founded by Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley. The practice was established in 2012 and is operated jointly between New York City and Chicago. Their work re-examines architecture and design’s relationship to vision and prompts its observers to look closely. The practice has contributed work to the 14th Venice Architecture Biennial (2014) and the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015). The practice was a recipient of the Architecture League of New York Young Architect’s Prize (2014). Their design work, which includes a collection of American Windsor chairs, is currently represented by Volume Gallery in Chicago. For more information about Norman Kelley, please visit https://www.normankelley.us.

About Rad Hourani
Rad Hourani created the first unisex, gender-neutral, ready-to-wear collection in fashion history and launched the now eponymous brand in October 2007. His work is an attentive observation of humanity that celebrates neutrality as a defining human trait. The Rad Hourani neutral process advocates non-conformity as the essence of individuality. He sees modernity as an odyssey free of nations, gender, age, race, limits, and conditioning. The uniformity of his collection creates a distinctive language that eludes design conventions. He applies principles of architecture in designing his patterns and works from the visceral premise of how the clothing will move and be worn. In January 2013, at 30, Rad Hourani was bestowed the great honor of becoming an invited member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. For more information about Rad Hourani, please visit https://www.radhourani.com.

Related Events

Opening Reception
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 4:30pm to 6pm

Performance with Brendan Fernandes and Charles Gowin at 5pm.

"Inaction" Performances
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 5pm with Brendan Fernandes and Charles Gowin
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 5pm with Charles Gowin
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10pm with Brendan Fernandes
Monday, October 28, 2019 at 12:15pm with Brendan Fernandes (with Artist Talk by Brendan Fernandes)
Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 2pm with Charles Gowin
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 5pm
Thursday December 5, 2019 at 5pm with Charles Gowin

Students from Wesleyan's Dance Department perform; selected performances include Brendan Fernandes and Charles Gowin.

"Inaction" Dance Party
Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 10pm

Part performance, part dance party, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery transforms into a night club in this event choreographed by artist Brendan Fernandes. The party continues his examinations of dancing as a site and act of liberation and resistance through queer communities. This special performance features students from Wesleyan’s Dance Department and live music. All are welcome to watch, dance, and create.

Guided Exhibition Tours
Saturdays, October 5 through December 7, 2019 at 1pm
No tours on Saturday, October 19 or Saturday, November 30, 2019

Take a closer look at Brendan Fernandes: "Inaction" by joining a 45-minute tour, led by Wesleyan University gallery guides. Tours begin in the lobby of the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Public guided tours are for individuals and small groups up to ten people. Larger group visits can be arranged by emailing bchaffee@wesleyan.edu.

Lewis Hyde
Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:30pm

A talk by poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic Lewis Hyde, who has a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. His 1983 book, "The Gift," illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of artistic practice. Hyde’s most recent book, "A Primer for Forgetting," explores the many situations in which forgetfulness is more useful than memory—in myth, personal psychology, politics, art, and spiritual life. A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde taught creative writing and American literature for many years at Kenyon College. For more information about Lewis Hyde, please visit http://www.lewishyde.com.

Thomas Kelley
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 4:30pm
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Room 202

A talk by Thomas Kelley, part of Norman Kelley, the architecture firm that collaborated with Brendan Fernandes for Inaction at Wesleyan, as well as installations at the Whitney Biennial and the Graham Foundation.

Listen to a conversation with artist Brendan Fernandes, Associate Director of Visual Arts Benjamin Chaffee, and Exhibitions Manager Rosemary Lennox about the sculptural and performance-based installation "Inaction," created in collaboration with the architecture and design firm Norman Kelley, on the Center for the Arts Radio Hour podcast on Soundcloud:

Image at top of page: architectural rendering by Norman Kelley, "Perspective Looking East," Brendan Fernandes, "Inaction," 2019.