VOLTA NY: An International Showcase

VOLTA NY celebrates its 10th anniversary this year running until 5 March at Pier 90 in New York. Since its debut in 2008, Artistic Director Amanda Coulson re-conceived the format as a rigorously curated, boutique event. With a focus on solo artistic practice, VOLTA NY is dedicated to showcasing emerging artists from across the world, championing cutting-edge practitioners and rising stars.

In a video series, Wendy Vogel, the organiser behind YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND – the second iteration of VOLTA NY’s critically acclaimed Curated Section – discusses the exhibition and its aims. The thematic show brings together eight artists who traverse the precariousness of the body and identity in a time of political turmoil.

The show’s title is inspired by Barbara Kruger’s photomontage Untitled (Your Body Is a Battleground), produced for the 1989 Women’s March on Washington. In that image, Kruger superimposed the words “Your body is a battleground” over a black-and-white image of a woman’s face, printed in both positive and negative exposures. Kruger’s work updated the 1970s feminist mantra, “the personal is the political”, for the 1980s era of slick sloganeering and media appropriation. Considering the recent turnout for political demonstrations, Kruger’s work reads as a vital precedent for contemporary art that protests the erosion of civil rights.

The video series also includes short interviews with artists including Tirtzah Bassel, whose luminous paintings capture figures either at ease in their anonymity, and Langdon Graves, who discusses her exploration of colour. Pacifico Silano gives an insight into his practice of using imagery sourced from vintage gay pornography magazines, preserved in Plexiglas slabs, which thereupon become stand-ins for gay men lost to the AIDS epidemic.

Finally, Kathleen Vance unveils her site-specific project Traveling Landscape: Precious Cargo, presented by ROCKELMANN & (Berlin, booth D5). By modifying reclaimed vintage luggage with artificial and real flora (moss, dirt, water) in miniature dioramas within, the Brooklyn-based artist considers a multitude of salient topics, from pristine green spaces to land proprietorship and water rights.

Watch the artist film interviews here via GalleryLOG.

VOLTA NY, until 5 March, Pier 90, West 50th Street, 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10019. See more: www.ny.voltashow.com.

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1. Videos courtesy of VOLTA NY and GalleryLOG.
2. Image: Polly GouldMount, Erebus and Northern Islets 2013, Silvered hand-blown glass. Presented by Danielle Arnaud London, London.