Who Let The Dark In?

01/17/2014

Sarah Pupo is an animator in multiple senses of the word. Her works all radiate a life of their own, coming alive in front of the viewer. For In the Night Room, a series of video animations and watercolors will animate articule’s gallery in an effort to recreate the psychological spaces her work inhabits.

Manifestations of immanent forces without any imposed structure, Pupo’s work allows for experiences located beneath organized thought. It looks deep into the dark or night or, as Pupo describes it, a dream space—the unconscious, and an uncertain slippery in-between where impulsions oppose and destruct each other, merge and procreate.

Through her practice, Pupo builds up rituals and creates a release for them. These rituals rest upon the exercise of gestural repetition, improvisation, associative thinking, and intuition. This process is particularly visible in her animation works, where Pupo borrows the technique of painting on film and eschews editing. For In the Night Room, the gallery will become part of the work, and Pupo herself will be part of the performance—building a light box in the gallery and coming regularly to grow the project, literally and metaphorically, through the live drawing of a new animation. Through her regular visits to the gallery, sequences will gradually add to each other, the project will thus morph, re-animating the short video and illuminating both a wall and the gallery window.

Taking something ephemeral and recording it makes it firmer, and more tangible. Viewers usually only see the final product of an artwork, however, acknowledging this process brings another level of experience while simultaneously emphasizing the magical qualities of the artist’s practice. Calling attention to the materiality of objects as they become animated, Pupo gives a privileged access to her work and brings out its surreal quality.

In addition to the live animation, Pupo exhibits two earlier animations as well as a series of drawings created recently through residencies at the Kolin Ryynänen Art and Culture Centre in Finland, and at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City. These works act as thematic anchors for the larger animation and will provide a deeper view of Pupo’s reflections around brightness and obscurity, psychological spaces and the internal body.

In drawing, reality has the ability to collapse. Tangible objects can dissolve in movement, melt, and resurface. Pupo claims it is the darkness in her work which allows for this fluidity, that it opens an interior space. In the dark night, space-time collapses, inanimate objects shift and what is known is quickly called into question. By letting the dark out into the gallery, Pupo allows her work to light up the darkest months of January and February.

 

Amber Berson is passionate about art and its potential for social change. Her current research focuses on artist-run culture. Her Master’s thesis (Concordia University) considered how missing and murdered Aboriginal women have been depicted in Canadian art. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Queens University. She works with artist- run centres, and co-curated several exhibitions and projects amongst which : SIGHT & SOUND festival, the Salon : Data, Département des Nuisances Publiques (Eastern Bloc), The Wild Bush Residency (Val David, Québec), In Your Footsteps (VAV Gallery), The Magpies Nest (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), and We lived on a map… (Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence). She also sits on the editorial committee at .dpi, a feminist journal of digital art and digital culture.

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Amber Berson

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