Born in Aleppo, Syria, Christine Gedeon is currently based in Berlin and New York. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Art History from SUNY New Paltz and has shown her work in North America, Europe, and Asia through residencies and exhibitions at The WYE (Berlin), A.I.R. Gallery and BRIC (New York), and the Busan Triennial (Korea), among others.
Reinventing spaces and urban topographical landscapes through installation has also been the primary focus of my work for the past few years. In the installation Divergent Walks; Gridded Cities, 2013, done during my residency at The WYE in Berlin, I took a selection of walks from 30 days in New York City and in Berlin and mapped out my routes as a starting point in creating this improvised installation of a hybrid city. These walks are the framework of this impossible topographical urban space merging New York’s grid system; coded with black tape, with Berlin’s divergent paths using blue tape. I’m curious how a city is laid out affects the collective consciousness. Does the New York grid, which has no room for diversions, wandering, and getting lost have a parallel to the lives and thoughts of its inhabitants? Directness, efficiency, and concerns of ‘time is money’ are all key attributes to those city dwellers. Outside the new world, urban planning was built upon layers of rebuilding where the streets are an accumulation of past, present and future possibilities. These indirect paths, which encourage digressive walks, affect the collective consciousness of the people allowing for detours and wandering thoughts. How would the essence of Berlin be different if it were built on a grid system and would the consciousness of New Yorkers change by walking in diagonals and strolling in meandering paths?
As humans, we define ourselves partly in relation to the built environment around us. Buildings in the urban context interact with one another and allow individuals to create a narrative of who they are-past, present, and future. Our memory and identity are forever changed after buildings and monuments are destroyed through war, natural destruction, and urban planning. The subsequent rebuilding both “as it once was” as well as a complete modern reconstruction ultimately suppresses memory seemingly creating a sense of utopia.
Using a sewing machine, fabric and paint on raw canvas, and inspired by aerial view landscape drawings and maps, I invent ‘plots’ that are neither true abstractions, nor complete landscapes but navigate between interpretative poles. With a limited palette and through an improvisational approach, these works are large in scale and hint to an unfamiliar impossible space, a space that allows viewers to detach and contemplate their relationship to the external world. I seek to connect the dichotomy of the cold, analytical masculine subject with the appropriation of traditional feminine materials, adopting a sewing machine as a mechanically precise drawing tool.
My most recent stitched works are inspired by the evolution of urban landscapes and how it ties to memory, focusing recently on New York City’s topographical evolution. I use Google Earth and archival images to collect my data and use this information as a starting point to create this invented series of urban renewal projects. The works are still done through improvisation pointing to a heterotopic, neither here nor there vision of New York; an unreality based on a utopian inspired ideal.
Links / Updates
Wenn Fäden ein Gedächtnis haben by Renate Rüger, April 30, 2014
Tolkningar av instrument by Adam Svensson, July 6, 2013, p. A24
Christine Gedeon Talks to Diana Nóbrega, interview, December 14, 2012
Imagining Urban Park Utopias by Allison Meier, May 14, 2012
The River Reporter
In My Humble Opinion by Jonathan Fox, February 11, 2010
CAS Arts Center
Livingston Manor, NY, Artist’s Talk, February 6, 2010
The Dallas Morning News
Christine Gedeon and Marisa Olson at And/Or by Kriston Capps, April 1, 2008
And/Or Gallery Interview
Issue 15, March 8, 2008
Art in America
Girls, Girls, Girls by Carey Lovelace, June/July 2007, pp.88-93