archival auras

Gina DeCagna

23 Feb – 13 Mar 2022

Curator: Giulia Antonioli

Artist’s Talk: Sat 5 March 2022, 2pm. Read more HERE. No need to book.

Workshop: Sat 12 March, 2–4pm. Read more HERE. Booking essential.

‘archival auras’ brings together a series of interrelated works that comprise sculptural installations, prints, drawings and artist’s books by Gina DeCagna. The works all look at ways to question historical interpretations integrating creative writing practices and visual art.

Gina DeCagna’s first UK solo show brings together a selection of works through which the artist is renegotiating and dissecting common interpretations, experimenting through acts of creative writing, collage techniques, and examinations of archival texts and documents. The exhibition features three series – Follow the American Dream; Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror and From Seeds Come Civilizations, – all made between 2013 and 2021. They use various media and found materials, including paper receipts, complementary artist books, charcoal and graphite.

‘archival auras’ takes its premise from the idea that an archive should act as a catalyst for experimentation and be surrounded by an aural energy, in the Benjaminian sense of the term – embodied and integral to its presence in time and space. The exhibition responds to the artist’s research into storytelling and de-classification, allowing for a more indeterminate, dynamic and affective understanding, where errors, gaps and blindspots play a central role in activating subjective resonances.

According to the artist, ‘archival auras’ is a way of expanding Benjamin’s proposition that ‘narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks’. Many of DeCagna’s influences come from an embrace of openness, transcendence, and possibility: experimental poetics, conceptual writing, concrete poetry, the Oulipo movement, commonplace books, ecological waste material, and trans-lingualism.

Gina DeCagna is an American artist and cultural producer who describes herself as ‘code-switching socially between the roles of artist, writer, editor, and publisher to transform material and language, as the expressive constituents of consciousness.’ By undertaking social engagements with collaborators and communities, by conducting archival or anthropological research, or by examining micro-histories, DeCagna seeks to connect the interpersonal with the sociological, situating herself within social discourses across time and space.

She has an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London, 2020, and a BA in English, Creative Writing and Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, 2016. She lives and works in London, UK.

DeCagna participated in a letterpress printing residency in 2019 at the School of International Graphics Venice/ Scuola Internazionale di Grafica Venezia, where some of the exhibited Concrete poetry was made. 

 Download Press Release HERE