Robert Blake Memorial Exhibition

Curated by Marina Berio and Martín Weber
May 3 - June 2, 2024
View installation images here

Please join us for the opening reception on Friday May 3rd from 6 - 8:30pm. Refreshments will be served. 

At 7pm Susan Jahoda will perform a re-enactment of
Excerpts from  Rencontres: Hybridaxe Performance, February, 1994.

In February 1994, Susan Jahoda and Robert Blake, under the name Hybridaxe, were invited to participate in a series of performances that took place at Fulcrum Gallery, NYC.  Hybridaxe performed Rencontres, a multimedia work consisting of spoken texts, two 16mm film projections, and drawings produced from blood that was drawn by a nurse as a part of the live performance.

For the performance at 601, Susan Jahoda will read an excerpt of one of the texts, THIS BODY IS NOT A DANGER TO ITSELF OR OTHER BODIES. Hybridaxe created different versions of this text for subsequent performances and publications, and this reading comes from  the last iteration, written in 2019 titled,
A Hybridaxe Performance Score in Two Parts. 

His family wishes to honor Robert's memory by establishing the Robert A. Blake Scholarship, with funds directed to the One-Year Certificate program at ICP.  You can find more information about the scholarship and donate here.

Exhibition statement: 

601Artspace is proud to present this exhibition in tribute to Robert Blake, our dear friend and founding team member who died on October 11, 2023. Robert’s urging was the primary impetus for 601Artspace’s metamorphosis from a private viewing room to the unconventional non-commercial artist-focused exhibition space it is today.

Robert was an accomplished multi-media and performance artist, photographer, educator, and author. 601Artspace asked artists Marina Berio and Martín Weber, longtime friends and colleagues of Robert’s, to assemble an exhibition that paid homage to both his work and to his beloved community of students and collaborators who are part of his legacy. What started as a straightforward request became…more complicated. Unbeknownst to most of us, Robert had an impressive archive of works and writings - some rarely, or never seen - languishing in storage, hidden away in his small apartment, scattered among friends. As Martín says, “Putting this show together felt like something between a treasure hunt, a museum loan plan, a hostage exchange and a peace treaty.”

Emerging from the results of this hunt, I Am Not a Photograph elucidates the central themes of Robert Blake’s restless mind and practice: the presence and disappearance of the body, collaboration and exchange, and semi-abstraction and narrative fragments in photography. Robert also leaves an enduring archive of texts characterized by informed explication and deeply felt poetic rumination. The title of the show, derived from a performance piece Robert made in Arles in 2005, evokes his paradoxical, rebellious nature. He was deeply committed to photography, yet he constantly deployed other methods and practices - including the curation of exhibitions at 601Artspace - to explore new territories.

Robert engraved texts onto mirrors, confronting us with our own image while his words brought us outside of ourselves. Legend, a haunting series of color photographs made in Beauduc in the Camargue in France, transports the viewer to idealized spaces between fact and fiction, some devoid of figures, some with bodies silhouetted and blurred, inviting projections of meaning. The Oracle series is an idiosyncratic take on the idea of the art object. Robert collected and gilded a year’s worth of his plastic packaging, transforming the detritus of his existence into mysterious formal investigations.

The exhibition also features work from Hybridaxe, Robert’s long collaboration with close friend Susan Jahoda making performance art encompassing dialogue, movement, and film. On display, we will have archival elements, including two mixed blood drawings from their piece Rencontres, one of their most complex and important performances. During the opening reception for this exhibtion, Susan Jahoda will perform an excerpt from Rencontres in the gallery.

In creating this exhibition, we wanted to include the voices of Robert’s colleagues, friends, students and collaborators. Robert had a deep connection to many communities, and he seemed to know everyone. We sent out an open call, inviting all who knew him to share something meaningful: artworks, ephemera, thoughts. What emerged was a beautiful collection of anecdotes, heartfelt letters, candid photos of Robert teaching and laughing, artworks made under his tutelage, artworks made years later still bearing the influence of his ideas.

Robert prepared this text years ago for an exhibition of the Legend works. He speaks to why we are here in a way no one else could:


Sight strikes blind when memory returns
eyes turn slowly towards the mirror

Laughing in cruelty and delight,
Turbulent red silence enraptures and departs.

Trespassing the sanctuaries of criminal beauty,
We swim against the currents of good sensation.

Resisting horror and eroticism alike,
Here lies the site of blind instincts.

Navigation lures the sirens to return their pray,
While in exile, the witnesses assist melancholic assassins
to cross the border.

The memory of their passage cradles our marks.
They turn traces, embedded inscriptions, silent breath.

Seams, scars, tears heal alike
More than night, more than light.

A blue sea sends messages below
Salt lick wounds touch, rock, swell and roll.

They return to the scene
Not to see, living, seen.

(Written on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Centre Photographique d’Ile de France, Pontault-Combault, 1999)


Robert Blake (1952-2023) was a multi-media and performance artist, photographer, educator, and author. Mr. Blake directed The General Studies Program of the International Center of Photography, New York, 1985-2008. He was visiting artist at the Ecole Superièure Nationale de la Photographie, France, 2008, and curator of “Affinities, Alignments, Collisions,” 2008, 601Artspace, New York. In 2005, the Rencontres d’ Arles commissioned his multi-media performance and projection work “I am not a Photograph,” presented in Arles, France. Mr. Blake was the recipient of an Etant Donnée grant for his solo exhibit, “Legend,” Paris, 2000. He was co-founder with Susan Jahoda of the performance art group Hybridaxe, active since 1992.


Marina Berio is a visual artist from New York City who works with drawings and photography to convey aspects of visual experience that are intimate and visceral. She has made family pictures printed with her own blood, and rendered photographic negatives of spaces, objects and landscapes as large-scale charcoal drawings imbued with subtle materiality and depth. A more recent project, shot on the walls of her studio, expresses the interrelationship between the nested realities of mental space, creative process, the internal topography of the body, and the studio itself. Berio is currently conducting research to expand a written piece about her family and the pictorial record of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II.

Berio studied photography, drawing, sculpture and art history in college, and then earned her MFA in Photography at Bard. She has been awarded grants by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Pollock/Krasner Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts grants, and visited various residencies including the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Millay. Her work was recently included in a large historical survey of materiality in Photography at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; other solo shows have been at Galerie Miranda in Paris, France; Galería Phuyu in Buenos Aires; Michael Steinberg Fine Art, and the OFF Triennale in Hamburg.

Berio teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York City, and has been invited to critique student work and speak as a visiting artist at many other graduate and undergraduate programs across the country. She is a founding member of PAIN, the activist group founded by Nan Goldin to hold the Sackler family accountable for their role in creating the opioid crisis.


Martin Weber is a multimedia artist that received the International Photography Award from CRAF / Italy (2019) and the Grand Prize for Installations and Alternative Media of Argentina (2016), Silver Eye Award (2008) and the Klemm Foundation Award (1999). He also received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation (1998), Prince Claus (2004), Magnum Foundation Fund (2018),

He wrote, directed and co produced his feature film documentary based on his homonymous book: Map of Latin American Dreams. The film won in 2020 Prix Documentaire Cinélatino/Toulouse, Best Documentary Feature/ Seattle Latino Film Festival, Best International Documentary/ Ícaro Fest, and Menção Honrosa/Brasilia International Film Fest. In 2021 Best Documentary at the Guanajuato International Film Fest, Best Film, Script and Audience Awards at the Trieste Ibero-Latin American Film Fest and Jury Prize at Ismailia Film Fest. In 2022 Best Documentary at the Santo Domingo World Film Fest, LASA Award of Merit in Film (USA) and Best Documentary Feature Film at the Veracruz World Film Fest.  He has also received support from Sørfond/Norway, Eficine/Mexico (2016) and INCAA/Argentina.


Susan Jahoda is an artist, educator, writer, and organizer whose work includes video, photography, text, performance, installation, and research-based collaborative projects. Her individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in national and international museums and galleries including venues in London, Paris, Basel, New York, Seoul, Canada, and Moscow.  Jahoda is a core member of BFAMFAPhD, a collective of socially engaged artists and educators based in New York City. 

As a member of BFAMFAPhD, Jahoda has been in artist residencies at Pioneer Works Artist Residency, Brooklyn, NY. (2019), Project Third, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. (2018),  NEW INC, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY. (2016-17), and Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY. (2015-16). In 2019 BFAMFAPhD organized a series of eight events at Hauser and Wirth Bookstore, New York, NY. focusing on themes in Making and Being: Embodiment, Collaboration, and Circulation in the Visual Arts, Pioneer Works Press, (2019) co-authored by Susan Jahoda and Caroline Woolard, two core members of the collective.


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