While Trisha Donnelly produces drawings, photographs, videos as well as sound pieces and performances, she doesn’t just decline techniques. Instead, the different mediums she uses are reservoirs of reflections. Even the space and time of the exhibition are seen by the artist as receptacles of references – historical, geographical, symbolical and spiritual -, of associations of ideas and reminiscences.
Rather than thinking of Trisha Donnelly’s works as mysterious and impenetrable, one should see them as attempts to escape the constraints of the production and materialisation of any object and to go beyond the spatial and temporal limitations of the exhibition. Maybe Trisha Donnelly is just not where we think she is?
For her personal exhibition at Modern Art Oxford in 2007, she wrote the visitors’ guide, which first sentence reads : “Let me explain.” Thus, well after the opening of the exhibition, the artist was still present to accompany the visitor in his tour. In the same show, one of the exhibition room was divided in two. A corridor, resulting from the division, led to a pile of cut branches. This intrusion of natural elements in a parallel space was a link to and a reminder of the external reality, a kind of afterthought to the exhibition.
Trisha Donnelly scrambles the codes of exhibitions. She stretches their usual temporality, explores what comes before and after, what lays besides, the interstices, the in-betweens. What happens between each of the thirty-one black and white photographs of The Redwood and The Raven (2004)? Each day of the exhibition, one photograph representing only one movement from a sequence executed by the dancer Frances Flannery is shown; the entire choreography could then be perceived only by a visitor who would come every one of the thirty-one days. Here, the work modifies the temporality of the exhibition and not the other way around. Trisha Donnelly slices and diffracts time and space. She tears away the upper left corner of a drawing Untitled (2005) that she gives to an anonymous person. There again, the artist makes us project ourselves elsewhere, some place outside the limits of the work. The D from W (2005), the photograph of a “warrior,” wearing a long white dress and armed with two swords, whose head and feet are not shown, might give us a metaphorical lead that would place Trisha Donnelly’s work somewhere between heaven and earth.
The exhibition at the Centre d’édition contemporaine will open without the artist being present, but she will be there for the closure. Between the opening and the finissage, a new installment will present a series of recent photographs, hidden away and put aside during the first time of the show. The artworks, which will emerge during a second time, could represent premises of a new event – the finissage – and lead to a new work. This unusual temporality of the exhibition, here reversed – an ending like a beginning – and in two parts – a second and a new installment – will give Trisha Donnelly, finding again a free space, out of vision, in a third “movement,” the opportunity to make an edition.