Chitra Ganesh (born 1975, Brooklyn, New York; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York)
Simone Leigh (born 1968, Chicago, Illinois; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York)
The duo Girl is comprised of artists Chitra Ganesh and Simone Leigh, both of whom work with disparate materials that range from ceramics to anime in exploring representations of the feminine form. While Ganesh layers traditional and contemporary cultural references that include Greek and Buddhist mythology and graphic novels in her work, Leigh references ethnographic studies as well as the traditional arts of West Africa. Combined, their collective efforts explore themes associated with women, as well as feminine iconography.
In the video installation, My dreams, my works must wait till after hell… (2011), the title of which derives from a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, a nude female torso is featured lying on her side. Her breathing is amplified both aurally and psychologically as viewers see her ribs expand and contract with each breath, her head obscured under a stack of stones. The video, accompanied by a soundtrack by Kaoru Watanabe, plays with scale, with the torso occupying much of the frame and resembling a mountain buttressed by stones. Against expectations, while the stones weigh like an elaborate headpiece on the most vulnerable part of the body, the figure seems to be sleeping peacefully. This performance challenges the classical art-historical presentation of the nude by portraying the black body and by denying the visibility of the subject’s physical attributes. Moreover, in animating the figure through performance, she is given life despite the visual overture toward silence, even death.
Chitra Ganesh received her BA from Brown University in 1996 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2002. She participated in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2001. Her solo exhibitions include The Ghost Effect in Real Time, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York (2012); She, the Question, Goteborgs Konsthall, Goteborg, Sweden (2012); Word of God(ess): Chitra Ganesh, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2011); On Site 2: The Sulhoutette Returns, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2009); and Her Secret Missions, Momenta Art, Brooklyn (2003). Her group exhibitions include At a Loss for Words, Art Musings Gallery, Mumbai, India (2012); You Don’t Know Where Her Mouth Has Been & Lift 21, The Kitchen, New York (2012); India Is Now . . . , Kunstverein, Gottingen, Germany (2011); Museum as Hub: Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet!, New Museum, New York (2011); Samtidigt: Contemporary Art from India, Helsinki Art Museum Tennis Palace (2011); Divine Horsemen: Chitra Ganesh and Simone Leigh, Mason Gross Gallery, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (2010); Malleable Memory, Aicon Gallery, New York (2010); Bunny Redux, Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2010); No more bad girls? UNpossessing Femininity, Stemberger, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, and Stiftelsen Bryggen, Bergen, Norway (2010); Transitional Aesthetics, Beijing 798 Biennale, Longmarch Space, Beijing (2009); Democracy in America, Creative Time, Armory, New York (2008); Contemporary Indian Art between Continuity and Transformation, Spazio Oberdan, Milan (2007); One Way or Another, Asia Society, New York (2006); Time’s Arrow, Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn (2005); 739 Feet Running Wall, Gwangju Contemporary Art Museum, Gwangju, South Korea (2005); East of the Sun West of the Moon, White Columns, New York (2004); Open House: Working in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum (2004); and Charlie, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2002).
Simone Leigh received her BA from Earlham College in 1990. Her solo exhibitions include You Don’t Know Where Her Mouth Has Been, The Kitchen, New York (2012), and Queen Bee, G Fine Art Project Room, Washington, DC (2009). Her group exhibitions include Evidence of Accumulation, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); Else, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York (2010); Bunny Redux, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (2010); 30 Seconds off an Inch, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); Rockstone and Bootheel: Contemporary West Indian Art, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2009); The Pleasure of Hating, Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York (2009); AIM 29, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (2009); Scratching the Surface VOL 1, L’appartement22, Rabat, Morocco, and AVA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa (2008); Ethnographies of the Future, Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn (2008); Wild Girls, Exit Art, Henry Street Settlement, Abrons Art Center, New York (2006); and SMIRK: Women, Art, and Humor, Firehouse Gallery, Hempstead, NY (2000).