The Ecstasy of Limits

curated by Yvette Brackman

Artists: Vito Acconci, Vincent Fecteau, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Laurel Fredrickson, Lucy Gunning, Annetta Kapon, Craig Kilpakjian, Karen McGarry, Joe Scanlan, Tony Tasset, Franz West, Jane and Louise Wilson, and Julie Zando

The Ecstasy of Limits is a group exhibition, curated by Yvette Brackman, which explores themes of power, desire, and limitation. In Brackman’s words, “The Ecstasy of Limits considers desire as an external framework that orders and manipulates the surrounding environment. This exhibition examines issues of desire and control as they are played out in social, physical, familial, and sexual forms of power.” As the title might suggest, the works in the exhibition test and highlight boundaries, both for the artworks and for the audience members, playing on fears and keeping the audience on the edge of discomfort. Annetta Kapon’s Floor Scale forces the gallery viewers to step on one of the many bathroom scales tiled around the entrance to the gallery, publicizing their potential insecurities. For Routes 1 & 9 North, Jane and Louise Lisbon allowed a stranger to hypnotize them in a motel room, surrendering themselves both to the hypnotist and the viewers, allowing themselves to slip into a state in which their own self-imposed boundaries no longer apply. Self-imposed limitations are also at work in two video pieces: Lucy Gunning's Climbing Around My Room, in which a girl in a red dress slowly climbs around a room without touching the ground; and Tony Tasset's Location Performance, in which the artist lies face down on the gallery floor, performing a deliberate anticlimax and presenting an endurance challenge both to the artist and the viewer.

Altogether the works in the exhibition signal the relative safety and comfort in which most of the viewers live, and point to the thrill of pushing the edges of those comfort zones. As Brackman put it, 

contemplation limitation can elicit ecstasy. Many of the works point critically to an illusory continuity, an ideal. This perfection is denied in each work offering up instead a deferred rapture.