In the Defibrillator Gallery, With a Dresser and a Thread

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in artists, performance art
In the Defibrillator Gallery, With a Dresser and a Thread

The title With a Dresser and a Thread implies a certain ease of performance, a symbiotic mode of action that works with objects rather than against them. In the work by Chicago-based artists Elena Katsulis and Erin Peisert, domestic objects like the dresser and thread (really, a rope) become hurdles—weapons, almost—to overcome together.

Performing in the Defibrillator storefront over a two-day period, Elena and Erin were sprawled out and motionless, each trapped under the weight of a wooden dresser and heavy rope. Though the artists were separated in their own bay windows, the large black rope that connected both spaces physically and emotionally bound them together, making their eventual release a contingent function of the piece.

The durational works by Elena and Erin often rely on the relationship their actions take with the audience, and it was almost as if the artists, wearing only black hosiery and lingerie, were challenging their audience members not to look as they walked down Milwaukee Avenue. The imagined scenario can take on any narrative. The growing audience that congregated outside Electrodes validated the actions of Elena and Erin, whose works often explore and subvert universal behaviors through performances that anticipate our own shock and expectations.

Photo by Myra Rodriguez

Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Elisabeth Smith is a dual-degree M.A. candidate in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism & Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before attending SAIC, Elisabeth earned her B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011. Interested in curatorial work and community engagement at the museum level, Elisabeth has gained experience working at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, The Hammer Museum, and The Art Institute of Chicago. She currently works as a Distribution Assistant at the Video Data Bank.