The Desert of the Black Cross

The Desert of the Black Cross, installation view, Tent, 2011, tent, basil plant, butane cooking pot
Aaron Colantti
Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein
Megan Schiller

Artists in Residence:
Aaron Colantti
Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein

August 1 - 14, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 5 - 8 pm

On the heels of their Above the Line show in a St. Paul warehouse, Aaron Colantti and Rob Kaiser-Schatzlein (K-S) hitchhiked across the state of Wisconsin to Milwaukee to drive out for their residency at 17 Cox. Joined by filmaker Megan Schiller, they left St. Paul on July 7, 2011 and began The Desert of the Black Cross, a well laid plan that was to be redacted and rewrote again and again. A document of life on the road, including all of the changes and detours that are synonymous with a journey into the unknown, The Desert of the Black Cross is not a destination but a series of sleep-overs and a constant renegotiation of what is necessary and unnecessary, what stays and what goes.

The name of the exhibition is in reference to Kazimir Malevich’s painting Black Cross, and his manifesto on ‘Suprematism’, a search for the pure feeling in a painting. Black Cross was a work stripped of every comfort and convention associated with art of its time. In 1913, Malevich argued that his painting of a black cross on a white background was the most efficient way to achieve the “pure feeling” he wished to communicate. By discarding comfort and convention, Malevich argued that one enters a metaphorical desert... which nothing can be perceived but feeling. Everything which determined the objective ideal structure of life and of "art ideas, concepts, and images, all this the artist has cast aside in order to heed pure feeling.

Colantti is a supra-media artist working in film, printmaking and installation. A performance artist since his early teens, Colantti now directs several projects including Tall Glass of Milk, a incendiary nebula of rap videos, improv comedy and film expirements. Kaiser-Schatzlein received his BFA in painting from University of Minnesota - Duluth. With repetition to demonstrate a performative aspect in his drawings, K-S uses patterns indicative of everyday matter: steel plating, tire treads and coiled springs.

Variegated Zeal Piece, screen print  | 1081 photos taken since July 7 - August 6 2011, digital video The Desert of the Black Cross, pre-installation