Broodthaers Society of America
Commission: Palace w/ Embattlements (after Gardiner) and After
Paige K. B.
accessible beginning September 15th
by appointment

Paige K. B. made a magnificent, evolving, seventeen-foot-long installation as her main contribution to Reworking, but we were just as taken with a small drawing that was hung around the corner from it. Titled Palace w/ Embattlements (after Gardiner), the drawing was an acrylic and graphite rendering of an Egyptian hieroglyph that is a recurring motif in her work that looks eerily similar to an airplane crashed into a flaming modern tower. Sound familiar? If so, why only one? Paige responded by agreeing to make a mirror image of the drawing as a private commission on the condition that the Broodthaers Society not only display the twin embattlements but also an additional drawing of three vertical lines.

We've just installed the drawings as part III of Reworking: a coda — this is the part where the music is fading out and you can only, barely hear it if there are no other sounds in the room (or in your head). In that state you can perhaps notice the relapse of memory that is evidenced by the two mirror drawings.

The first was in our show reworking and we liked it so much that we commissioned a mirror image of it from the artist @guiltgroupe aka Paige K B. We kept the first while Paige made a vellum transfer as a means of mirroring the second from a tiff file she had, only to realize she had forgotten that she had reduced the size of the tiff to A4. The paper stock and format size was exactly the same; the image was mirrored perfectly, but 22.5% smaller.

We loved it. Not only because Paige had momentarily but beautifully lost her way in her own A4 house if mirrors, but also because the drawings become a subtle perceptual dilemma when hung near each other but on opposing walls. In the few seconds that it takes to turn 180° from one and look at the other, just enough doubt can creep into your cognition to make you re-turn and look again.

As for the third drawing, according to Sir Alan Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (1927), published by the Griffith Institute at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, the inscription of a vertical line, broken into three marks, was placed after another glyph to indicate that the former should be understood three times. And so, in keeping with the terms of the ancient vocabulary and the artist's contemporary practice, one image begets another, and another, a bit like an upended ellipses ...

While it would appear that we’ve hung the third drawing between the first two rather then after them—and thus got the punctuation out of order—in actuality the experience (and human nature) is such that you are drawn to the arrangement of the mirrored drawings first, before investigating the third one. All complemented by the symmetry of our front windows and the everyday pageantry of 143rd Street.