Carey Young “Palais de Justice”

Paula Cooper Gallery "534 W 21 St."

poster for Carey Young “Palais de Justice”
[Image: Carey Young "Before the Law" (2017) digital C-type photograph; 50 x 33.3 in.]

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Paula Cooper Gallery presents a one-person exhibition of recent work by Carey Young. The show will present Young’s video work, Palais de Justice (2017), as well as a new series of photographs.

Palais de Justice was filmed surreptitiously at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, a vast 19th century courthouse designed in an ornate late Neo-Baroque style. Contradicting the familiar patriarchal culture of law, Young’s concealed camera depicts female judges and lawyers at court. Sitting at trial, directing proceedings or delivering judgments, female judges are spied through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors. Palais de Justice subtly builds a counter-narrative – a legal system seemingly centered on, and perhaps controlled by women. Here, men and their iconography of patriarchal power are still present, but their usually dominant position is reversed. Male lawyers wait patiently and nervously outside courtrooms for a female judge to allow them in. They stand in front of their judge as she enters, and remain standing until she allows them to sit. They plead their case in front of female judges, who only occasionally bestow attention. As the piece develops, Young also captures younger female lawyers in a more intimate way. Her camera gradually becomes implicated, either caught within reflections, or noticed by some of her subjects.

The piece develops Young’s interest in law, gender and performance, and considers the complex relations between lenses, surveillance and ideas of framing or being framed. Examined through the lens of contemporary politics, both within the United States and abroad, the film acts as a critical counterpoint to regressive trends towards autocratic government and limited civil rights, particularly those belonging to women.

For her new series of photographs, Young presents images of courthouse doorways. Titled Before the Law, after Franz Kafka’s 1915 parable in which the protagonist is continuously denied access to ‘the law,’ the series depicts these these doorways as metaphors for the legal system itself. Courtrooms are glimpsed in various ways – a red glow emanating from one entices us with its surprising warmth and seductiveness; a red velvet curtain in another calls to mind law’s reliance on aspects of theatre; in a third, a courtroom visible through a frosted glass window glows like an abstract painting, as if law’s abstractions may connect with artistic thinking in ways which have not yet been fully considered.

Born in 1970, Carey Young is British-American. Her work has been exhibited in prominent national and international exhibitions and has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions including Dallas Museum of Art, curated by Gavin Delahunty (2017); Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Raphael Gygax (2013); Eastside Projects, Birmingham, England (2010), which traveled to Cornerhouse, Manchester and MiMA, Middlesborough; Le Quartier, Quimper, France (2013); The Power Plant, Toronto (2009); and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009). Young’s work has also been presented at the Taipei Biennial (2010), Tate Britain (2009), Moscow Biennale (2007), Modern Art Oxford (2007), Performa 05 and the Venice Biennale (2003). A monographic study of her work, Subject to Contract, was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. The artist is currently based in London, England.

Panel discussion with Carey Young, Colby Chamberlain, and Joan Kee:

Friday, September 8th
5:30 – 6:30 PM
534 W 21st Street

Colby Chamberlain is Lecturer in Discipline in Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. His scholarship and criticism focuses on intersections of art and other fields of professional practice, in particular the law.

Joan Kee is Associate Professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan. A contributing editor for Artforum, she received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and has recently completed a book on the relationship between contemporary art and law in post-sixties America. In 2016, she guest edited a section of the Brooklyn Rail on art and the law whose contributors included Carey Young.



from September 07, 2017 to October 14, 2017

Opening Reception on 2017-09-07 from 18:00 to 20:00


Carey Young

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