Carol Szymanski

Meantime 2020

Artist Statement
My work is conceptual primarily concerned with language. It consists of translations, not in the traditional sense of rewording or interlingual interpretation, but as what the linguist Roman Jakobson called “transmutation”—the interpretation of linguistic signs by non-linguistic systems. I question fundamental notions of how language manifests itself in various forms: as writing, speech, music, images, and diagrammatic mappings of movements. I see this as a way of extending language into other realms of experience.

Carol Szymanski’s language-based art spans many media, from sculpture and painting to video and performance. She has become particularly known for a series of sculptures in the form of invented musical instruments, and particularly brass horns, that she has been making since 1993. Szymanski was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Whitney Museum Studio Program, and lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Recent solo and collaborative exhibitions include He Said I Thought at Signs and Symbols Gallery, New York, NY, 2019; Pareidolia, Totah Gallery, New York, NY, 2018; The Phonemophonic Alphabet Brass Band, Winter Garden, New York, NY, 2017 curated by John Schaefer WNYC New Sounds Live Series and “Emergency Eyewash” (with Barry Schwabsky), Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York,NY 2017; “A Distance as Close as It Can Be,” Elga Wimmer PCC, New York,NY 2016; “My Life is an Index,” Tanja Grunert Gallery, New York, NY 2015; and “Pissing Against the Wind, or, Sketches on the Mental Drain on the Dead Banker,” Guided by Invoices, New York,NY 2012, which have received press attention in Artcritical, Art Press, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, and Time Out New York. Between 2004 and 2014 she produced an email project, cockshut dummy, combining writing and images, excerpts from which have been republished in the art and literary periodicals including Atlantica and Vanitas as well as publishing cockshut offshoots, a 4 book series with Book Works, London. Space Sisters Press will publish cockshut dummy in 2020.  She has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Rome Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Szymanski has collaborated with numerous composers and musicians including Ben Neill, Ekmeles Ensemble, Betsy McClelland, Dewey Redman, and Wadada Leo Smith.