In their third exhibition at Société, entitled Hive Mind, the American artist Trisha Baga will, for the first time, focus primarily on painting. Best known for her immersive video, performance, and ceramics, Trisha Baga has built a reputation for work that gleans the margins of the digital and the logic of online browsing to create dreamy, layered narratives in physical space. A similar logic prevails in their newest body of works, albeit in a different medium. Trisha Baga once described themselves as an “experimental adhesive maker.” They bring a lot of things together in her work: video and objects, the digital and the analog, narrative and images, groups of people. Yet these elements don’t adhere to one another seamlessly, and instead they clump together like a mutually-imbricated life form held together by a sticky, viscous goo.
As with all of their works, Baga’s recent turn towards painting has evolved out of processes of improvisation and collaboration. Together with the artist Lu Zhang and the curator Herb Tam, Baga began the painting club P_Lub. Each week the group would create a collaborative painting to announce an episode of Virtual Studio Visit Loop, a series of conversations with artists and cultural workers disseminated via Instagram Live that reflected on living and working through a pandemic. Baga’s collaboration on this project prompted them to delve into the practice of painting more deeply. Intertwining subject matter as diverse as diagrams of the flight of a house fly, a piece of bubble gum, lesbian sex, pop stars, and her own films, Baga’s exhibition at Société brings together works that examine the boundaries between people and groups, and the roles that technology plays in mediating these relationships. Paintings made in 2020-2021 will be presented in conversation with the artist’s latest film 1620, which provided the inspiration and imagery for several works in the show. According to the artist, “the film is an impressionistic science fiction, which reframes Plymouth Rock as a source of narrative stem cells in the hands of genetic scientists studying deep-seated flaws in The American Drama.” Baga’s exhibition at Société orients itself around a double helix of tropes exploring deconstruction and community, following Baga’s assertion that in order to be seen, a group of people need to come together as one force and, in order to be an image, the body must be broken down into parts.