SACRED OBJECTS: SUSAN CIANCIOLO’S THE GREAT TETRAHEDRAL KITE, 2015, BOX KITS (WORK IN PROGRESS). PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND BRIDGET DONAHUE, NYC.
The title of Susan Cianciolo’s exhibit, which opened this month at New York’s Bridget Donahue gallery, hails in part from a mantra she heard at an ashram: “If God comes to visit you, how will you know (the great tetrahedral kite)?” Cianciolo started out as a downtown artist and fashion designer in the 1990s and has built something of a cult following for her experimental, mixed-media work. Her Box Kits, which are “Fluxus-inspired pieces” that incorporate photography, objects, and collage media, are, for her, “a form of prayer boxes, in a sense.” Accompanying handsewn archive books bring context to the sprawling contents. Spanning 20 years of work, the show also includes multimedia components such as a lecture series, films curated by Asher Penn, music composed and performed by Propheta, along with various collaborations with photographers and others. For Cianciolo, “How I document these pieces and who I work with becomes a holy grail or sacred text.”