14 November 2012

Chess-Cherry

The materials in Cherry Manga's new work, Chess-Cherry, which opened today at the gallery organized by the Tanalois Group and the torno Kohime Foundation, are simple: black and white, a chess board, chess pieces, nude female forms, and images of classified advertisements from an early 20th century Minneapolis newspaper (these are wrapped around the chess pieces and plastered on the board and the surrounding floor). As a life-size interactive space, the board and pieces aren't something we think of manipulating with our hands (plus, it's clearly not our game to play)—these are more like statues, the women on them caught in poses that range from awkward to borderline erotic. (Skeletons show through the women's skins, putting a damper on their sexuality, unless you're into that sort of thing.)

Although the materials are simple the execution is not, and the result, to me at least, is enigmatic and compelling. I have been wrestling with what to say about this work, or what to think about it—the combination of materials, the immersive experience, the inherent battle going on before us (is it frozen in time?), the nude figures positioned on the pieces, and so on. In this case I'll fall in line behind the composer/artist John Cage, who remarked that art we don't understand is more interesting than art we do understand.

"I think white will win," I said to Cherry. "Let's hope," she replied.

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