Press Release

Ecstatic Land

Ecstatic Land is an exhibition and screening series that brings together a multigenerational group of artists whose works explore the intersecting vitalities of land and the self. Artists include: Laura Aguilar, Genesis Báez, Teresa Baker, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Christie Blizard, The Frank Duncan Archive, Nancy Holt, Katherine Hubbard, Isuma, Benny Merris, Alan Michelson, Laura Ortman, Elle Pérez, Sondra Perry, and David Benjamin Sherry.



International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2022

Ecstatic Land / Kenneth Tam

Ballroom Marfa, Marfa (United States)
26.10.2022 - 07.05.2023




The artworks in Ecstatic Land, connect material and exterior sites with interior, emotional, psychic states. Land is celebrated as a living force, and the exhibiting artists’ photographs, paintings, films, videos, sculptures, and sounds harmonize the pleasures of seeing what’s around us with those of inward reflection.

Western art-historical traditions of the landscape genre largely focus on the framing of particular views of nature, often as demonstrations of power and control. Challenging and expanding single-point perspectives, these artists offer personal views that would otherwise be invisible, intangible or overlooked. Their approaches run counter to the privatization, misuse, and over-consumption of common spaces and resources. Ecstatic Land proposes ways to live dynamically, critically, queerly, and consciously on and with the land.

Ecstatic Land is co-organized by Guest Curator Dean Daderko and Ballroom Marfa Director and Curator Daisy Nam, with assistance from Alexann Susholtz, Ballroom Marfa Curatorial and Exhibitions Assistant. Ecstatic Land is the first of a series of exhibitions organized by Daderko under the collective title The Weather Inside.

Kenneth Tam: Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory

Tam’s exhibition unearths forgotten histories in order to reimagine our own identities and to question dominant myths that shape and govern our bodies. One of the most enduring myths that still haunts our nation is Manifest Destiny and the conquest of the American West. Tam’s examination of American westward expansion is rooted in the unrecorded lives of nameless Chinese laborers in the late nineteenth century.

Silent Spikes, the video installation on view, weaves together improvised dialogue and movement sequences from a group of participants alongside semi-fictional scenes of a Chinese worker from inside the tunnels of the Transcontinental Railroad. Also on view are commissioned sculptures. During Tam’s site visit to West Texas, his encounter of artifacts and fragments of objects left at workers’ camps along the railroad led him to consider how physical remnants function as stand-ins for the disappeared histories of laborers. Tam's use of archaeological fragments as visual and material language complicates the simple narratives that have been constructed about migrant lives. Bits of dried food, broken jewelry and other personal items are integrated into the sculptures to point to experiences of a person’s life that indicate precarity, but also tenderness and care.

Tender is the hand which holds the stone of memory is organized by Daisy Nam, Ballroom Marfa Executive Director and Curator with assistance from Alexann Susholtz, Exhibitions and Curatorial Assistant.

Exhibition 26 October 2022 - 07 May 2023. Ballroom Marfa, 108 East San Antonio Street - Marfa, TX 79843 (United States). Hours : Wed-Sat 11:00 – 18:00.





Ecstatic Land / Kenneth Tam, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, United States

[1] Benny Merris, An Other Another 44, 2015. Archival pigment print on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist. [2] Photo: Christopher Merritt.

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved