Ellis Ga will present a projection of her latest video, Quarries (2022), which premiered in spring 2022 at the Jeu de Paume (Paris).
In Quarries (2022), Ga’s steady, captivating voice entices viewers to traverse a path composed of seemingly disparate shards of conversations, events and fleeting images which, over the duration of the forty minute video, accumulate into a mosaic that links the human hand and its tools with the capacity for resistance.
Quarries follows the mysteries surrounding prehistoric stone tools from Kenya alongside the neglected labor of stonemasons who paved the streets of Lisbon. The humble gesture of these artisans, stooped over the pavement, morphs into a confrontation with the hubristic act of monument building. For the artist’s brother, the struggle to regain the use of his hands after a serious injury transforms into a narrative about agency in the face of being forgotten, marginalized and deemed of no importance. An out-of-print photography book on Portuguese stone pavements leads to a series of improbable connections. A tour of a neurobiology lab leads to an examination of a Cold War re-education camp where prisoners were forced to dig up stones to create replicas of antiquity while covertly drawing on stone shards to mark and then bury a trace of their stories.
I arranged Quarries as a series of parenthesis gathering around stories that can’t really be told: the life events leading up to my brother’s paralysis; the photographer who won’t reveal why her book is a (still) painful chapter in her life; a sliver of knowledge of our prehistoric ancestors extracted from the faintest mark of a pre- human hand; the untold stories and conditions of the laborers that paved Lisbon’s streets.
How do conceptions of linear progress petrify certain values in history-telling, scientific enquiries, evolutionary theories—even in our assessment of our relationships to others? In Quarries, knowledge is forgotten and rediscovered—or on the verge of disappearance. We are presented with the frightening implications of progress-driven time, yet the cracks of resistance to this progression are abundant.
About the artist
In addition to her work in performance, Ellie Ga has exhibited extensively at venues including Bureau (New York), Galeria Zé dos Bois (Lisbon), The Foreman Art Gallery (Bishop’s College, Quebec), the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), Milliken Gallery (Stockholm), and FRAC-Franche-Comté (Besançon, France), among many other venues. Ga’s works are represented in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), Hessel Museum of Art (Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art (both New York).
CMCA’s exhibition program is made possible in part by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts with additional support from individual donors and members.
Image: Ellie Ga, video still from Quarries, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.