Nigerian e-mail scams, figure skating and a Neanderthal language all play a part in Catherine Sullivan’s new video work “Triangle of Need”. The multi-channel installation continues her exploration of theatrical and performative conventions.
Sullivan’s ambitious project focuses on two main locations: Vizcaya, the sprawling Miami estate built in the 1910’s by agricultural industrialist James Deering, and a nondescript apartment building in an anonymous American city. Sullivan situates “vestigial narratives” at these locations, one involving a hominid species that is forced to reproduce by an industrialist; and a series of reconstructions from the Pathescope Films catalog, silent films screened by Deering at Vizcaya.
As in past projects, Sullivan works with numerous collaborators. “Triangle of Need” enlists the expertise of Nigerian director Kunle Afolaya, composer Sean Griffin, choreographer Dylan Skybrook and figure skater Rohene Ward, among others.
Catherine Sullivan’s videos and performances have been presented in solo shows at The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2007; The Tate Modern, London, 2005; Secession, Vienna, 2005, Kunsthalle Zurich, 2005; Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany, 2004; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 2003; Fri-Art Centre d' Art Contemporain, Fribourg, Switzerland, 2003; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2002; and the Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2002. She has been in group shows including the Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, 2003, and the Whitney Biennial, 2004. Sullivan originally trained as an actor at California Institute of Arts, where she received her BFA in 1992. She completed her MFA at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1997. Sullivan was a recipient of a DAAD grant (2004-2005) and spent a year living in Berlin. She lives and works in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Chicago. This will be her third show with Metro Pictures.
“Triangle of Need” is a co-commission by A Foundation, Liverpool; Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Additional support was provided by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Foundation, Miami.