Charisse Pearlina Weston
of [a] tomorrow: lighter than air, stronger than whiskey, cheaper than dust

Connor Spencer
Queens Museum, New York
October 2, 2022—March 5, 2023
Charisse Pearlina Westonof [a] tomorrow: lighter than air, stronger than whiskey, cheaper than dust, 2022, installation view,
Queens Museum, New York, 2023.
Photo: Hai Zhang, courtesy of the artist &
Queens Museum, New York
Queens Museum, New York
October 2, 2022—March 5, 2023
What are the temporal and spatial configurations of resistance ? Alongside such familiar tropes as revolutionary upheaval and the mass action of the street protest, Charisse Pearlina Weston asks us to consider actions that unfold at a markedly different tempo: pausing, stalling, obstructing, withholding. An exhibition at the Queens Museum in New Yorkthe first solo museum exhibition of Weston’s workadds to this repertoire the metaphor of the fold. The topographic figure of the fold has enjoyed a curious career through thinkers ranging from poststructuralist theorist Gilles Deleuze to Black trans abolitionist Marquis Bey. Treating critical theorists as interlocutors, Weston joins this conversation by contributing her own conception of fugitive resistance.

Weston enacts the fold through a series of glass sculptures, some of them anchored by concrete or metal bases, that stage a tension between opacity and transparency. As the glass folds in on itself, it grows opaque, and any clarity it proposes quickly slips away. The tension is reinforced by the presence of the archival material etched onto and fused into the ribbon-like structures. It’s not always clear what we’re looking at, and that seems to be Weston’s point: the opacity of the image disturbs our notion of an archive rendered up for seamless reception in the dominant terms of the present. In line with Weston’s interest in the “tactics of refusal” available to Black subjects, the works do not yield themselves to their viewer so easily. If one may wonder whether more information about the particular archival materials presented here could have contributed to this set of works, I also found my expectations productively confronted by how these fugitive works refuse to smoothly transmit meaning.

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This article also appears in the issue 108 - Resilience

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