S C R E E N S
SCREENS, a project about “community”
January 05–February 03, 2019
at Essex Flowers Gallery
SCREENS, a project about “community” centers on a group of regular bathers that co-exist at the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th Street. This exhibition frames the body and mind as a filtering system, exploring the slippage between notions of reaction and response, and questioning the solidity of such identity states as “insider” and “outsider.”
Open since 1892, the current owners of the baths, Boris and David, operate two separate businesses under one roof, running their respective enterprises on alternate weeks. Each week maintains its own specific social codes and business practices. SCREENS, a Project About “Community”explores the dynamics of the Boris weeks, which are driven by cash-, verbal-, and gray-market negotiations. Within the context of the ever-fluctuating East Village neighborhood, this mode of business operation has fostered a particular and thriving mixed social space based in a bathing culture of “regulars.” Knoop’s practice as a “regular” manifests in a short film shot during operating hours at the baths, as well as a series of partition screen sculptures, prints on aluminum, and a video-viewing booth.
To make the privacy partition screens, Knoop rolls and weaves the news; literally restructuring the volumes of information about current events through a time-honored process often associated with domestic work. They subsequently encase the weavings in aqua-resin, burnishing them with oil. Slippery and chunky, these objects materialize metaphorical ways of processing experience: filtration, projection, deflection, and blocking. Inside the patinated privacy booth, visitors can watch Knoop’s video about the baths. Shot over the course of 10 months, the video blends fact and fiction, capturing different moments of regulars in their individual bathing routines and revealing glimpses of particular social codes and implicit rules. Through this exhibition, Knoop invites viewers to become, however temporarily, imagined members of this ever-shifting community.