Nancy Davidson: p e r sway
November 18, 2017 - January 20, 2018
Locust Projects, Miami
Locust Projects presents p e r Sway, an immersive installation by the New York-based, interdisciplinary artist Nancy Davidson. The exhibition debuts a new body of out-sized sculptures, costumed in garish patterns and colors, that crowd, bulge, and impose themselves across the gallery space. These anthropomorphized works caricature the human body, incorporating cartoonishly amplified parts—from legs to eyes to cells—that distort the very concept of the body as an ordered or well-understood form. In their theatrical poses, these sculptures appear to sway, warp, and shift between the suggestion of limbs or inanimate shapes. There is a question at the center of p e r Sway which wrestles with the constant transformation of the body in its unyielding cycle of birth, growth, age, and death.
In her forty-year career, Davidson has approached the body as a tool to investigate dynamics of power, control, sexuality, and femininity. Davidson embraces absurdity in her practice, where her formalist training is filtered through a fleshy slapstick that renders her sculptural shapes sympathetic, grotesque, and human. Through this strategy, Davidson engages the carnivalesque, a visual and literary trope originated by the Russian writer Mikhail Bakhtin, which employs humor and disorder to distort and thereby critique reality. This tool lies at the center of Davidson’s practice: the visual satire of p e r Sway escalates its serious commentaries about the chaos and dysfunction of this moment in history. A carnival to itself, the exhibition serves the function of a funhouse mirror which reflects the warped conditions of a world and political climate turned upside-down.