Iterations, Translations, Poetry, and Music
Kartz Ucci’s (1961–2013) work was diverse in media and method. For all her ways of approaching ideas, she was often engaged in translation—between languages, between mediums, between technologies and emotions, between color and sound. Her own work was a translation, iteration after iteration. This made the process of creating her retrospective challenging, but ultimately deeply connected all of us who were involved with Kartz’s practice and with her mind. Which is the final piece? Do we realize this remaining unfinished work or show the last version? How do we envision what she would want for this show?
Kartz was always moving forward and always looking back, striving for new ways of approaching the subjects and concepts that drove her. She was not looking for the easy or the simple; she wanted the truthful and the meaningful. Her continued reinvestigation of the same projects was not a compulsion as much as it was a sign of her ongoing reflection on the world and her work.
There are things lost in translation, but there are things gained in it as well. Unexpected meanings and connections, the voice of the author, the very choice of what and when to translate inform the meaning of any work. As Ucci worked, each piece led to the next. She’dwant to use a new material to present a past work, or she would see a new thread to follow. She’d think of a bolder or subtler way to get to the same place, and sometimes she’d want to exhibit different versions of the same piece together.
This is not the mind of someone focused on an end result. She presented beautiful and fully realized installations and works in her life. At the same time, Ucci was always revisiting, reinvestigating, rehoning, and remaking her works. There is beauty in that—someone who is making work as if in sand to blow away, but who is using TVs and vinyl and sound instead. And who gets up the next day to begin/continue.
We all wish Kartz were here for this show. We’d all like to hear what she wants to do next—the latest idea or the latest reworking. I wish I could see all of the versions of an opera for one that she would have made if she’d had a longer life. How beautiful would it have been to see a show of each iteration in the gallery, full of life and energy and variety and repetition, one after the other?
I know she wasn’t finished with her work, but I also know she never would have been. This is just another iteration.
On View: October 4 - December 5, 2015