Weak Link

February 1 - 23, 2019

In an essay on the artist Cady Noland, the critic Bruce Hainley asks, “What does it mean to make an issue of connection—of what kind of connection, especially when the biographical, art-historical, and political are so knotted—a question of heredity? The family is as much an aesthetic form as a political one.” 

The artists gathered in this exhibition took up this question in its many valences, addressing relatedness as a social, political, personal, and formal concern. Through video, sculpture, photography, and installation, the four artists in this exhibition examined how ideas that are now accepted as constructed—including science, race, family, and history—are scaffolded by linkages both secure and fragile.

"Weak Link" leaned into the value of precarious connections and their attendant possibilities. As the tenuous connection that often determines the strength of a system or structure, the weak link can function as a site of generative potential. This exhibition examined the ability of weak links to highlight flaws and failures within structures held up by faith, and the contingency of structures on the ideas and people who form them. 

The group show is also a format in which connection can be contested: decisions may be formally sound, or theoretically valid; they may be arbitrary, or personally motivated. They may hold water, or they may fail. In embracing the weak link, we offer the potential for connections to be fluid, rather than deterministic, and by doing so, we hope to expand our understandings of what it means to simply be together.

"Weak Link" was the twelfth exhibition in the Incubation Series, a student-led initiative that fosters new ways of making, exhibiting, and seeing art. Founded in 2015, the Series began as a collaboration between students in the Fine Arts and History of Art graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania, and has expanded to a wider community of scholars and practitioners in Philadelphia. The Series encourages creative collaboration across individual graduate programs and universities, and showcases the work of MFA students while allowing graduate students the opportunity to explore and expand their curatorial practices. The Incubation Series team produces exhibitions and programs hosted by galleries and art spaces throughout the wider Philadelphia community in order to build relationships and cultivate connections between artists, curators, students, and the public.

This exhibition was co-curated by Ginny Duncan and Tausif Noor and was hosted by AUTOMAT, 319 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Click HERE for the press release.