First published on 13 June 2018
Galerie nächst St. Stephan | Alice Attie about her work
ALICE ATTIE KARIN SANDER JONGSUK YOON
January 12–March 3, 2018
The ink drawings by ALICE ATTIE (born in 1950, in New York City, where she lives and works) involve the minuscule. They often explore the territory between writing and drawing, where the two overlap. Her drawings are meditations in ink that allow tiny marks to accumulate over long sustained periods of time. Engaging repetition, rhythm and gradual change, she allows these minuscule words, figures, numbers and marks to accrue and grow on the paper. When presenting a landscape of numbers or letters or of a language that is not real, she is inspired to push and suspend meaning, allowing it to slip into visual abstraction. In the series entitled Class Notes, Attie takes notes while attending philosophy and physics lectures at Columbia University. She re-inscribes and re-imagines the lectures in the form of drawings. These too are visual analogues to the intellectual adventures that Attie finds herself drawn to.
Her most recent series of works Take Care of Yourself is based on Michel Foucault’s last lectures at the Collège de France in Paris from 1982 to 1984, shortly before his death. These lectures focused on the idea of the 'The Care of the Self,' also the title of his book (Le souci de soi). This idea, which can be traced back to Socrates, consists of caring for one’s body and mind, caring for others, and caring for personal freedom and freedom of speech. Attie’s drawings, which continually repeat the sentence 'take care of yourself,' are contemplative sites of linguistic ambiguity and transgression. Attie’s series 'Wandering: Drawings and Collages' continues her 'Requiem' series, part of which was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. For this series, Attie works on unused pages from her father’s 1930-40’s notebooks, which she has filled with repetitive sentences or fictitious letters. The images are culled from many places including newspaper images, her own photos, found vernacular photos from her collection (originating in flea-markets).
ALICE ATTIE was born in 1950, in New York City, where she continues to live and work. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and an MFA in Poetry and has taught literature throughout the New York area before turning to photography and drawing.
Attie’s first book of poems, These Figures Lining the Hills, was published in 2015 by Seagull Books/University of Chicago. A second book of poetry, entitled Under the Aleppo Sun, will appear in the spring of 2018, also published by Seagull Books/University of Chicago. Her book of photographs documenting the changing face of Harlem, Harlem on The Verge, was published in 2001 by Quantluck Lane/W.W.Norton Press.