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Announcement
March 3, 2022

Nicole Miller: A Sound, a Signal, the Circus / Chitra Ganesh: Dreaming in Multiverse

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis

Nicole Miller, A Sound, a Signal, the Circus (still), 2021. Laser animation, mixed-media installation. Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles.

Nicole Miller, A Sound, a Signal, the Circus (still), 2021. Video of acrobat Austin Bradley, mixed-media installation. Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles.

Nicole Miller, A Sound, a Signal, the Circus (still), 2021. Laser animation, mixed-media installation. Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles.

Nicole Miller, A Sound, a Signal, the Circus (still), 2021. Video of dancer Michael Jones, mixed-media installation. Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles.

Chitra Ganesh, Combing Hair on Balcony, 2021. LightJet print on archival paper, 18 7/8 x 27 1/8 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Hales, London and New York, and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Chitra Ganesh.

Chitra Ganesh, Urgency, 2020. Archival digital print, 66 1/4 x 45 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Hales, London and New York, and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Chitra Ganesh.

Chitra Ganesh, Multiverse Dreaming, 2021. LightJet print on archival paper, 21 1/8 x 27 3/16". Courtesy of the artist, Hales, London and New York, and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Chitra Ganesh.

Chitra Ganesh, Silhouette in the Graveyard (still), 2018. Digital animation with sound, 1:22 min. Courtesy of the artist, Hales, London and New York, and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Chitra Ganesh.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis is delighted to announce two new exhibitions this spring.

Nicole Miller: A Sound, a Signal, the Circus
On view March 25 to July 25, 2022, Nicole Miller: A Sound, a Signal, the Circus is a major new commissioned project by California-based artist and filmmaker Nicole Miller. Known for her evocative videos and multimedia installations, Miller frequently addresses themes such as race, translation, and the politics of representation. Her multisensory installation at the Kemper Art Museum explores and expands an understanding of synesthesia as it relates to the Black experience in the United States through an intricate choreography of sound, moving image, and laser-light animation. A Sound, a Signal, the Circus engages with the sonic, the somatic, and aspects of spectacle to enact what the artist describes as a kind of “ecstatic translation.”

Miller’s 24-channel soundscape directs viewers through the gallery. It is composed of recorded and appropriated sounds and music, along with edited excerpts from interviews that she conducted in St. Louis in the summer and fall of 2021. In these interviews, poets, dancers, educators, and teenagers of color share a range of perspectives—personal, political, philosophical, and creative—often drawing connections to their own bodies. Punctuating this sonic tapestry will be choreographed laser-light animations and video footage of performers rehearsing, many of whom are preparing for roles in various circuses. The encounter is intentionally overwhelming, comprising an intensity of light and emotion that is both beautiful and disconcerting to behold.

In this immersive environment, the visitor is implicated as both spectator and subject. The sound of disembodied voices in Miller’s soundscape—each with their own observations and inflections—and the sight of bodies moving through space set up the potential for a heightened consciousness of one’s own body while provoking questions about whose bodies are valued in society, whose voices are amplified, and whose lives are cherished.

Nicole Miller: A Sound, a Signal, the Circus is organized for the Kemper Art Museum by Meredith Malone, curator. The work is produced in collaboration with sound mixer and musician John Somers and laserist Zak Forrest. Major support for exhibitions at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is provided by the William T. Kemper Foundation. Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by Emily and Teddy Greenspan; Fondation Foyer; the Mass Family Charitable Fund; the Olson Family Fund; public funds from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Ken and Nancy Kranzberg Fund; the Hortense Lewin Art Fund; and members of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Chitra Ganesh: Dreaming in Multiverse
On view now through July 25, 2022, Chitra Ganesh: Dreaming in Multiverse presents a series of recent prints as well as several video animations that exemplify the artist’s practice of experimental storytelling.

Ganesh completed the print series, titled Multiverse Dreaming, during recent COVID-19 lockdowns. Inspired by Amar Chitra Katha (Immortal Picture Stories)—a popular comic book series originating in 1960s India including tales of epic myth, folklore, and history of the South Asian subcontinent—Ganesh uses the series as a point of departure, repurposing the comic form to present nonlinear narratives that focus on themes of reflection, regeneration, togetherness, and desire in times of uncertainty.

Among the selection of Ganesh’s animations is her most recent, Before the War (2021). Described by the artist as “an open-ended narrative of memory, love, and loss,” the visual storytelling, combined with music and lyrics by the singer and songwriter Saul Williams, probes how personal and political conflicts are often intertwined and can be bearers of profound transformation.

Chitra Ganesh: Dreaming in Multiverse is organized for the Kemper Art Museum by Meredith Malone, curator. The exhibition is generously supported by the Siteman Family Charitable Fund.

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