A character called X journeys through a present that is neither here nor there, but feels oddly proximate. She moves through landscapes of words, ever-shifting to host the groundless present, a place and time driven by her motivated, yet contextless pursuit. Narrative is always under construction. The preferred medium for X’s peregrinations: a sentence, as capacious as a three-second video, a ten-year nap, or an unexplored hard drive. In this suspended world, X’s sensorium is curious and alert, but also anguished, hesitant, and precarious: she feels around for sympathetic energies and familiar faces along the way. Along what way? A book like a body might be a room for waiting, a machine for memory, a sensuous thing, an image quickly glimpsed, a performance still ongoing...
You can change your rhythm in order not to panic I learned from Beige Pursuit, a marvel of a book that fuses and transforms various overlapping wildernesses—that of the body subject to transformation, that of the anxiety of our current shared predicaments & the ways that anxiety is fueled to deaden response, & that of the imagination, prone to serious irreverent examination, having to constantly move within its own unfolding in words. X, pregnant, and our guide, is told by talking peonies describing the intimacy gradient that she can’t enter her own home, & so it goes—it being the ordinary blasted bureaucratic temperament of the present. A present Sara Magenheimer illuminates by amplifying and grounding its absurdities in the daily chaotic filters of refusal and admission.
Is X pure data? There is mention of her bossy body, but is that body the whole wide world? The cosmos? The singularity? X is a mother, newly, but more pressingly, X is a blinking cursor; the promise of a word. X might be predictive text, but she herself is unpredictable. Is X atmosphere or algorithm? What’s the big diff? Are you my (biological) father, the peonies might ask the mushroom cap, whose answer could be, “Oh.” Rosemarie Waldrop has lunch in the ether with Lewis Carroll then meets Renee Gladman on a shopping mall escalator to dish. I trust this lysergic logic, shimmering through our present din.
In sequences absurd, antic, and familiar (with an asterisk), Sara captures the punchy, fractured interior landscape of a world manicured by encoded determinism.
—Nicole Kaack, BOMB Magazine
About the author
Working across a range of media including video, sound, performance, sculpture, collage, and installation, New York-based artist Sara Magenheimer disrupts, manipulates, and defamiliarizes language with bold combinations of image and text. Her videos incorporate traditional filmic editing techniques alongside those inspired by music and collage. In syncopated progressions of pictures and words, Magenheimer pushes against the bounds of narrative, charting circuitous storylines through vernacular associations that invite individual interpretations. Her first book of writing, Beige Pursuit, was published by Wendy's Subway in October 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include The New Museum, New York (2018), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, OR (2017); The Kitchen, New York (2017); Chapter NY (2017): Art in General in partnership with kim?, Riga, Latvia (2016); the Center for Ongoing Research & Projects (COR&P), Columbus, OH (2016); JOAN, Los Angeles (2015); and Recess, New York (2015). Her videos have been screened at the Flaherty Seminar (2019), International Film Festival Rotterdam (2018), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2017); the New York Film Festival (2017, 2015, 2014); Images Festival, Toronto (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015); Anthology Film Archives, New York (2016); EMPAC, Troy, NY (2016); and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2015).