Depressive Alcoholic Mother is permeated by questions of position and reciprocity. The exhibition focuses closely on Beasley’s long-standing fascination with the protocol of the double and with panoramic cycles, articulating mechanisms of interior and exterior spaces that are central to her practice. From the ripples of these movements, a larger concentric circle structuring the show emerges as a choreography of doppelgangers. The exhibition weaves new proximities and distances between different parts of single works, or iterations of works in editions of two. Works are unpaired and interspersed: neither one added to another, nor one divided into two, but additions of what they do not have in common and subtractions of familiarity, veerings together and apart. Autonomous, involved with and divided by another, these singular elements negotiate a shared groundlessness, or the possibility of a figure profiled against the ground of its double.
Such swirls, gyrations and inflections are the material of Depressive Alcoholic Mother. The title’s words orbit around one other in a hazy biographical permutability. They posit an inscrutable relation where there should have been denotation, indicating what the show might ‘with’ and ‘through’, rather than what it is about. The exhibition composes a polyphony of parts, of repairs played backwards as fractures and wanderings as returns.
Beasley has developed an unorthodox editioning system within her practice, whereby certain works which contain multiple parts are produced in an edition of two. The first of these must remain complete, while the second edition is to be divided into single entities, or into smaller groupings than the first. Thus the work simultaneously exists both as a whole work and a set of autonomous works.
(…) Depressive Alcoholic Mother entwines revolving apprehensions and the skewed grids that arise when thinking is met with wayward objects in the world, with reciprocal insufficiency engendering a process of reciprocal amplification. Through Beasley’s insistent use of doublings, placing similes and similitudes in relations that do not hinge on direct recognition but on its slippages and antonyms, on interlocution rather than identity, the system of operations, apertures and resistances that is the infrastructure of the show acquires a pregnant stereoscopic quality, and comes to resemble a gaze: the spatial transcription of an ocularity in a group of works.
The contrapuntal drive of Depressive Alcoholic Mother ramifies to integrate an appropriated John Player ashtray, ‘kissing’ benches that promise intimate contact as much as threaten exposure, cyanotypes on vintage bed-linen, exposed in late winter light on Beasley’s studio floorboards, that chart how luminosity traverses the space of the gallery, elements from Beasley’s long-term project on Victorian photographic pioneer, Eadweard Muybridge, author of the ground-breaking 1878 panorama of San Francisco and said to be engaged, at the time of his death in Kingston, with planning a scale model of the Great American Lakes in his back garden, a revolving postcard rack stocked with pictures of plants whose location and date compose a vegetal autobiography at a time of breakdown, figures whose capacity to interlock, whose corresponding protrusions and concavities, are precisely the pivots around which they turn away and aside from one another. They create a space of coexistence without shared boundaries: whirls slowing down into knots, postscripts advancing to the position of preambles.
Fragment from the exhibition text by Mihnea Mircan