The Syncope

The Syncope

On View from September 14, 2019 – October 19, 2019

BRAC Fall gallery series begins September 14, 2019

The Syncope

curated by Kathie Halfin


Yali Romagoza-Cuba/Queens,  

Jean Carla Rodea-Mexico/Brooklyn,

Pei-Ling Ho-Taiwan/Queens 

Carlos Wilfredo-Puerto Rico/Bronx, 

Katya Grokhovsky-Ukraine/Brooklyn, 

Jacqueline Bishop-Jamaica/New York, 

Aneta Wegrzyn-Poland/Brooklyn,

Lionel Cruet-Puerto Rico/Bronx, 

Gavin Tao-Scotland/Brooklyn,

Graciela Cassel-Argentina/Queens

Emma Yi-China/Queens

Each person’s life is dominated by a central event, which shapes and distorts everything that comes after it and, in retrospect, everything that came before. Svetlana Boym, the acclaimed critic takes Nabokov’s word Syncope to describe immigration in “Speak, Memory”. 

The word means a change of rhythm in music or a brief loss of consciousness in life. It is the gap between lives. This show chooses to focus on immigrants/migrants experience of time and place that is experienced as a break or the Syncope as Nabokov puts it.

Evidently, this zone of discontinuity is unsettling. The “gap in between lives” sets a challenge for the immigrants as they are compelled to find a new sense of belonging and preserve personal identity which often times is conflicting. For some Syncope represents resistance to the oppressive stereotypes of the dominant culture and the need to find a safe space in the new surroundings. For others, it is an emptiness caused by disintegration from their cultural environment.

In the show, artists reflect on and propose ways to address the Syncope. From the storytelling to activism, from gestures of solidarity to idiosyncratic personal experiences, artists suggest the interpretations of the Syncope and ways to live with it.

Show runs from September 14th through October 19th.

Opening Reception September 14, 6-9 PM

The "Syncope" exhibition which will be presented at both the Main Gallery and the Rooftop Garden, will bring together the diverse community of immigrant artists whose work addresses challenges posed by immigration, cultural transition and the change of environment. From fictional storytelling to activism, from gestures of solidarity to idiosyncratic personal experiences artists work in a variety of interdisciplinary practices of visual and performance arts, reflect on their experiences of immigration and suggest ways to live through and with this experience.

During the opening reception, "The Syncope" exhibition is delighted to feature a special program of four live performances by Katya Grokhovsky, Yali Romagoza, Jean Carla Rodea, and Pei-Ling Ho in collaboration with Emily Smith. These women artists from diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds will share their interdisciplinary practices of performance art, sound, experimental music, movement and dance with the community and present their pieces at the Main Gallery and at the rooftop garden.

This special program also includes screenings of short videos produced by the artists in this show. The screenings will be featured at the rooftop garden during the opening reception. The videos center around the experiences of immigration and highlight the issues of memory, identity, belonging and labor. 

Opening Night Performances

Yali Romagoza 90 miles, 2018 Photo by Lindsey Whittle

Yali Romagoza 90 miles, 2018 Photo by Lindsey Whittle

Yali Romagoza 

"The Mistress of Loneliness" is an ongoing multidisciplinary project based on Romagoza's experience growing up in Cuba and as a recent immigrant to the US. Romagoza will present a version of the video installation "The Mistress of Loneliness"-Chapter 1: The Departure as a live performance using her alter-ego Cuquita The Cuban Doll to explore the idea of the body as a nation. 

Katya Grokhovsky The Future is Bright, 2017  Photo by Miao Jiaxin

Katya Grokhovsky

In her multi-media project "The Future Is Bright" , Katya Grokhovsky explores disillusion, migration, identity, re-discovery and the failed utopian promise of ideology through the artist's family history. Focusing around the narrative of the character of Grokhovsky's 94 year old only surviving grandmother, a veteran of World War II, the project investigates formation and de-construction of migrant identity through an extraordinary story of survival, humanity and legacy. 

Jean Carla Rodea In her multi-media installation "Looking For Maria"Jean Carla Rodea focuses on the life of a Mexican woman known as "Malinche". Her name was transformed in the term "malinchismo" which is used by Mexicans and Mexican origin populations in the U.S. to refer to community members who "sell out," adopt the value system of the dominant culture. Jean Carla argues that Maria had the agency to speak up and challenge those in power, therefore starting a de-colonial practice and disrupting normative narratives still assigned to women.

Pei-Ling Ho and Emily Smith

In "Noodled Pioneers", Pei-Ling Ho and Emily Smith use their bodies and objects as vehicles to reflect and rethink the complex identities in the US as women and witnesses. From two perspectives and backgrounds, they respond to the same anxieties and confusion through nationality and daily lives. 


Workshops through October:

September 18th, 4-6 pm

Katya Grokhovsky Presents: Performance in the Everyday

A performance art workshop, by artist, curator, organizer and educator Katya Grokhovsky, in which the everyday daily actions are highlighted and explored as potential material for constructing live performances.

Performance in the Everyday is a hands on group workshop, in which participants explore and mine their everyday routines for potential raw material, in order to develop multidisciplinary works of performance art. Mundane gestures are isolated, repeated and workshopped in combination with found objects, movement, voice, sound, body and visual elements as well as peer collaboration in order to investigate the various possibilities of a live medium.

September 28th, 4-6pm

Yali Romagoza Presents: Who I am in this society?-Crafting Alter-Egos

Inspired by her experience as an immigrant artist Yali Romagoza’s created her alter-ego “Cuquita the Cuban Doll, responding to displacement, isolation, and self-alienation. Participants in the workshop are invited to transform into an alternate version of themselves and play different roles in today's contemporary society using fabric, yarn, magazine clippings, and embellishments

October 12th, 4-6pm

Aneta Wegrzyn Presents: Home 

The watercolor workshop will explore the theme of belonging and home from current socio-political situation, our culture and geographical roots. Participants will paint and draw on hand-made by artist plaster tiles, similar to what I use in my work. After a short discussion what is the personal meaning of home to each of us - a physical space, mental space, certain objects, people etc., we will briefly learn how to use watercolor and create our final piece on an individual tail.

Watercolor bleeding into plaster make the participants to give up a lot of control and adjust to the unpredictable material. The process of painting on a plaster, similar to the immigrant situation, requires letting go of control, being open to the new/unknown, constantly adjusting and at the same time keeping our identity and expressing ourselves freely. The workshop will be a personal journey of self-discovery within creative and safe and supportive community. 

RSVP for workshops

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