601Artspace presents Fountain, a site-specific video installation created by Beryl Odette.This is the first in a series of four Storefront Exhibitions,
running from August to November, that use only the windows and exterior facade of our gallery space and are designed to be viewed from the outside.
Saturday, Aug 8 - Friday, Aug 28
On view daily from 7pm-11pm at
601 Artspace, 88 Eldridge Street, NYC
There is a sound, a constancy, and a timelessness. There is an enduring persistence.
In the name “Fountain” we can almost hear the age of water.
It takes its natural path flowing into a future unknown to us.
But maybe the water knows.
It has been here before innumerable times, and will return again and again and again, even long after we have gone.
This is not a fountain that will be shut off to go dry in a drought.
This wet has always been here. This water lived here, pushed through the earth before even there was something to wrap around and contain it to be called Fountain.
This is that fountain. The kind which spills out cities, seeps and pouring into a civilization. But civilizations have endings, as if built in to their names. And one day fall away to abandon water where it has always been.
Imagine sorrow unending.
The stone is a sorrow, set it down, throw it away. Have another and another. Sorrows are like breath, you will never run out of one, before you run out of the other.
I am a lifelong artist, native to Los Angeles. I explore boundaries, implied, secret, slippery, tall and crumbling, or invisible, harsh, fragile, and broken. Naming can be a most restrictive boundary, a relic from childhood, a simplification taught with prejudice or a liberation giving permission to a most wanted desired. I have been called half and half, and other names. But I am not names, materializing from survivors of slavery and the Holocaust, I am first generation on a side. So many barriers we give our attention to have no strength to contain us. When I was a girl my grandfather would say to me, there is no wall tall enough to keep you safer than not needing walls. Walls should be mostly doors.
There is no simple. I want to transform all as if I were assembling a demi-glaze. Sometimes my work has a quality of being barely there, or is conjured from a strange arrangement of familiar objects. Placement illuminates meaning, while formal beauty will lend me your gaze. Beauty soothes what enters the eye the way a kind voice is skilled at delivering news we wish not to know. What is not gentle will always be witnessed, recalled and retold, as if history were solid ground. Thinking must be refreshed. My work is fluid, like a sentence that has been contemplated over time still waiting to meet ink. You are my collaborator, open and be lured in. We are not separate. I can offer no reassurance past the moment of viewing.
I am glad you are here,
Beryl Odette in conversation with Senon Williams
Beryl Odette sat down for a pandemic-safe intreview with her brother, artist Senon Williams, to discuss her practice, her art heroes, and the inpiration behind Fountain.