I make predominantly satirical interdisciplinary work from a desire to understand the complexity of the world and my place within it. Often grounded in sculpture, video, and projection, my work engages questions of value, and addresses the raced and gendered character of “production” and “maintenance”. Without reducing entangled questions of identity, politics, labour, and history to easy answers, I make from shifting theoretical ground, adapting materials and methods to suit.

 

Much of my work relies on the innocuous gestures of everyday life—sweeping, cooking,

repetitive maintenance—brought to life by the power of the absurd, the occult, and the paranormal. Works like Spirit Webs (2018) and Enlightenment Loaf (2019) align my objectives with radical science fiction writers in making space for a different future, and with critical feminists and spoofers alike by using parody as a political framework. In the performance work i will have to clean this up (2019), I cast a collection of studio dirt into 13 ice-dirt-balls and use a broomstick to push them around the classroom floor. This act, performed in a costume reminiscent of Jackson Pollock and Brice Marden, redistributes the debris, and culminates in streams of wet dirt covering the floor. At the conclusion of the performance, I clean up. This work, which highlights the invisibilized, racialized, and gendered labor of cleaning up after valorized, masculine modes of production, speaks to a rich history of feminist performance art critiquing masculine “genius”, as well as to my own experience as an immigrant whose family relied on income from “maintenance” professions for survival.  

 

Using dirt, water, and matches alongside bronze, steel, and video, makes for uncanny material resonances, and invites viewers into more nuanced engagements with art history and the embedded economic relationships. Grounded in personal understandings of immigrant and colonial relations in Canada, my work aims to question how art can speak to and disrupt hierarchies of value, both within and beyond it’s institutions.

© 2020 Ada Dragomir