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Matrix 209: Helen Mirra
November 23, 2003 through January 24, 2004
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents an exhibition that reflects upon the contemplative qualities inherent not only in the work of many artists, but in our own daily lives. MATRIX 209: Helen Mirra 65 instants is a new installation by Chicago-based artist Helen Mirra, and forms part of Awake: Art, Buddhism, and the Dimensions of Consciousness, a national program of exhibitions and public programs that aims to explore the threads of Buddhist influence that run through the fabric of American artistic life. Mirra's exhibition arises from a second-century Buddhist idea regarding the moment that occurs between perception and judgment, which has been described as comprising sixty-five instants. Mirra's exhibition opens on November 23, 2003, and runs through January 24, 2004.
Helen Mirra uses her work to explore the everyday relationship between the natural world and the people who inhabit it. Working from a broad array of scientific, historical, and aesthetic references, Mirra creates work using drawing, sound, film, photography, fabric, text, and installation. Her installations are made using precise, repetitive actions that mirror meditation and honor practices of traditional labor and craftsmanship. Mirra's MATRIX installation draws upon the ideas of Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna, and his belief that, in the moment of time between perception and intellect or judgment, there are sixty-five instants, all of which occur in the time it takes to snap your fingers. For most people these instants are impossible to discern, although they can be perceived by the most attentive. Mirra's installation comprises sixty five pieces which she made one per day, every day for sixty-five days. Each piece is created from a one-by-six-foot recycled shipping pallet plank. Diligently hand-sanded, the planks are monochromatically painted with milk paint, an eighteenth-century matte furniture paint. The planks will be installed to create a horizontal band around the MATRIX Gallery.
Born in Rochester, New York, in 1970, Mirra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bennington College and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work was included in the 2003 Venice Biennale, and recent solo exhibitions have been at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; the Whitney Museum, New York; and Donald Young Gallery and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. 65 instants is the result of a six-month Bay Area residency cosponsored by the Arts Research Center of the Consortium for the Arts at UC Berkeley and the Awake project.
Sunday, November 23, 3 p.m.
Artist's talk, Gallery 1
Helen Mirra will introduce her exhibition. A reception will follow the discussion.
Thursday, December 4, 6 – 7 p.m.
Musical performance by Maybe Monday, Gallery 1
Bay Area-based trio Maybe Monday will present an evening of musical improvisation in response to Helen Mirra's work. Uniting three of today's foremost innovators in experimental music—Fred Frith, Larry Ochs, and Miya Masaoka—Maybe Monday is internationally recognized for creating a fresh interplay of moods and textures. Between them, the members of Maybe Monday have collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno, Henry Kaiser, Pharoah Sanders, Margaret Jenkins, Anthony Braxton, Kronos Quartet, and the Berlin Opera.