Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RECAP // Coffee Date with Lisa Sigal

"Being commissioned here has been one of the best experiences I've had." - Lisa Sigal

Factory Installed artist Lisa Sigal began her Saturday morning Coffee Date sharing her experience at the Mattress Factory's artist-in-residence program. As an artist who has shown works at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA P.S.1, The International Biennial in New Orleans, and participated in artist residencies across the nation, Lisa was able to reflect on the aspects of the Mattress Factory that set it apart.

"Usually at art institutions, they say 'Here are the parameters, the limitations, the budget," Lisa explained. "But here, when I asked 'What are the limitations?,' the answer was 'we don't usually tell you - we start with the vision and we work from there.'"

With a smile, Lisa continued, "Nothing was out of the question." In such an environment, she felt she could experiment more freely, without having to articulate each step of the process or be too afraid of making mistakes.

The conversation soon shifted towards the inspirations and concepts that Lisa explored in her work "Break it Down." She explained that she wanted to "flip the terms" and make the typically unseen (walls, sheet rock, and other architectural barriers) seen. The artist described her piece as a more "minimal" and "elegant" exploration of formal elements compared to her previous works. However, it still grew out of her interests in the architecture and structures underlying social spaces.

In particular, Lisa highlighted "Burning," a public art installation she created at Propect.3 New Orleans. She was interested in the blighted houses as structures underlying the social inequalities of the New Orleans neighborhood, but also wanted to create a work sensitive to the local community. The final piece involved displaying text fragments from the play "Burning" by Suzan-Lori Parks on the exteriors of vacant homes, allowing passersby to read the unfolding story as they walk by.

This was the last edition of this year's Coffee Date series! Thank you to everyone who attended and made these discussions such warm and friendly meetings. This Member-Exclusive series will continue next year with our next artists-in-residence. We hope to see you all again soon!

For more information or to become a member and attend the Coffee Dates series, please visit www.mattress.org.

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