The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars

Dawn Kasper is a New York based interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and sound. Her work emerges out of a fascination with existentialism, subjects of vulnerability, desire, and the construction of meaning. Kasper often critiques the corporatized aspects of culture by examining the emotions most commonly manipulated by advertisers and media such as fear, panic, hate, envy, lust, and anxiety. Creating scenes that double as a platform for living sculpture, Kasper performs in a structured yet spontaneous manner using props, costume, comedy, gesture, extreme physicality, repetition, music, and monologue. 

Kasper’s “Nomadic Studio Practice” experiment turned her studio into the work, building on the legacy of Kaprow, Fluxus, and Cage to create a place for durational performance, improvisation, and a permanent blurring of the boundaries between art and life. A version of this work, called “This could be something if I let it,” was shown in the Whitney Biennial in 2012 (curated by Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders), which saw Kasper move into the museum for the duration of the exhibition. A new variation, called “The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars” is included in the 2017 Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel. (see image below)

Photo credit Dmitry Komis

Dawn Kasper
On Desire or the Method, 2016
Studio Systems, curated by Peter Benson Miller
The American Academy in Rome, Italy
Courtesy the artist and David Lewis, New York
Photograph by ALTROSPAZIO, Rome

Derived from an intersection of music and performance, Dawn Kasper makes sculptures that create and evoke sound. These begin with “Cluster”, shown at David Lewis in 2016: a gallery-wide installation of 63 cymbal-based totemic sculptures that created a gentle symphonic droning as a viewer moved through them. Kasper’s newest sculptures are based on horned and percussion instruments, and combined with lighting, hanging bulbs, and aluminum cans. These hanging works (or ‘chandeliers’ - alluding to the cortical neurons, called chandelier cells, whose transformation is associated with psychiatric disease, especially schizophrenia) are also neural maps, in name and shape, and likewise allude to Kasper’s frequent identity, in performance, as a mad scientist.