OPENING FEB 10, 2023, 6:30-8:30
Y. Malik Jalal
Gitte Maria Moller
I've never met anyone who's left a comment on anything. It's just demons who live in basements – Robert Pattinson
Intertwined with desire and drive, various needs lie at the basement stairs, where private and public life intersect. Basement Romance features eight artists whose work, taken together, pillage the space of psychological sewage with the basement as backdrop – its libidinal force, hidden impulses, escape routes, societal constructs, and psychic fears. It’s a metaphor, or cave, for projection and the cave itself, or a room that is and isn’t a room–containing the presence of something non-representable for processing.
The first Pittsburgh Potties (freestanding basement toilets, as they’ve been termed in the city) were installed in homes as a pre-war prerequisite, so that mill workers and miners could clean up before entering the main part of the house. Local lore has it that toilets close to the ground would also prevent a sewage overflow. “As sewage backups tend to flood the lowest fixture in a residence,” Wikipedia says, “a Pittsburgh toilet would be the fix […].”
These artists’ works, collectively, put primacy on how different infrastructures shape their inner worlds, and vice versa: an underground tunnel in the system through cracks of intimacy and, perhaps, irony, or the imaginary: heartbreak in a game of chess; cosplay in works of art history featuring tornadoes; a fragment of a map of one’s own mind; burns and cavities in a suburban garden. Fixed it. The basement here is a place of grieving and lamentation, but also, one of reprieve, healing and regrowth. As the toilets have overflown, or the water heater leaks, the underground entrapment’s puddles drip drop through the drain, back into the ground. A cleansing and a threat.
5429 HOWE STREET