Leah Capaldi | Overlay (2015)

I invited Leah Capaldi to the ICA to respond to Isa Genzken’s Basic Research Paintings, displayed in the Upper Galleries of the ICA.

Originally marketed as a tour, Leah and I spoke for long periods of time over how exactly this should be approached; it shouldn’t be a traditional or didactic tour, it should complicate and problematize the works, rather than reinforce an already accepted and understood narrative.

Leah was the perfect artist for this project: she works sculpturally – in and with space, regardless of duration or medium – and that is exactly what her practice and that of Genzken has in common.

Linking objects, the architectonics of the gallery space, the unwitting participation of the visitors and the history of 20th century art practices, Overlay posed questions which are at the crux of art and exhibition making. By forcing the viewers to re-evaluate their position as foreign bodies in the gallery, as spectators of a living object, Leah’s work transposed Genzken’s paintings onto another plane, just as Genzken herself had transposed the floor of her studio onto the walls.

With the programming of Leah’s gallery tour, for a few short hours on the 27th August, the Upper Galleries of the ICA unfolded. Visitors did get a tour: they experienced a common space in an uncommon manner; they explored their own tentative footsteps in a way that they wouldn’t ordinarily have done in a room of paintings; they considered the space of the gallery, the space of their bodies and the vessel of others’ bodies as performative sculpture. Visitors did get a tour, it is just that many were unaware.




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