Genesis Belanger: Holding Pattern
January 22 – April 14 2019
In Genesis Belanger’s works seemingly mundane items— from cigarette stubs to soda cans, handbags and stray pills—are rendered strange as they become surrogates for the body, evoking both comfort and disquiet. Belanger conjures associations rich in references from Pop Art to the Surrealist object to seventeenth-century Dutch vanitas paintings, yet her work’s psychic impact remains acutely attuned to archetypes of the present. The artist’s elegantly smooth and supple forms often contrast with their darkly humorous insinuations relating to pertinent subjects such as mass production, chemical dependency, and the absurdity of patriarchy.
In 2019, the New Museum presented “Holding Pattern,” an installation by Belanger in the New Museum’s Storefront Window, which took inspiration from liminal spaces such as office waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, airport lounges, and other areas where people dwell in a state of limbo. Belanger’s objects invoked this liminality, often appearing limp or wilting as if they had been left in place for a long time or melted under high heat. Viewers could peer through the window onto a receptionist’s desk adorned with office supplies and an uneaten lunch, while an open desk drawer revealed items one might consume in order to cope with the stresses of daily life such as candy, a bottle of liquor, and pill packets. A low bench with two grinning lamps awaited possible visitors and a color-paneled curtain punctuated the threshold between the windows, separating the space of waiting from that of anticipation. Ceramic bricks wrapped daintily with notes were scattered throughout the installation, perhaps waiting to be pitched through a window allowing those trapped in purgatory to break free.
“Genesis Belanger: Holding Pattern” was presented as part of a new series of storefront window installations that relaunched the New Museum’s Window Series originally mounted between 1979 and 2002. The project was curated by Margot Norton, Curator.