Arm Armature began as an obsession with armatures. For years I stared at, photographed, and researched all sorts of armatures – from posing stands used in early portrait photography to hold subjects still for long exposures, to museum armatures that display ancient fragments, to medical braces used to set broken bones. I am jealous of what these armatures know about touch: they cradle our most precious sculptures, caressing them tenderly on their vulnerable cracked surfaces; and they gingerly hold our broken healing limbs in place. I am also in awe of their power: they fixed bodies in position for impossible-to-hold durations to create the first magically instantaneous portraits; and they prop up shards from distant times and lands and imbue them with renewed and altered cultural value.
I am recreating and reimagining the armature forms I admire in clay; making photographs of my arms behaving like and learning from the armatures; and I am posing / staging a dialogue between my sculptures and photographs. To house this dialogue I create structures that I think of as “furniture-pedestals.” Their inspiration comes from museum pedestals that elevate sculptural fragments and household vanities where women use their hands and arms to prepare their faces to look beautiful.
Display is a key interest of mine in all elements of this work (as it is the key reason that armatures exist in the first place): I use the conventions of studio photography, conventions shared by advertising and ancient sculpture documentation; I play with color to make things stand out or blend in; I tease out the idea of the front and back (having a “good and bad side”). I am interested in engaging seriously and playfully with the posturing, transformation and loss that armatures and display tactics represent.
Ellie Krakow is an interdisciplinary artist who earned her MFA from Hunter College and her BA through study at Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Solo exhibitions of her work have been shown at NURTUREart, Thomas Hunter Project Space, Spring/Break Art Fair, and Cuchifritos Gallery. Recent group show venues include Field Projects, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Present Company, Interstate Projects, and NARS Foundation (all NYC); outside of New York City venues include Wasserman Projects in Detroit, the Kingston Sculpture Biennial in Kingston, NY, the Pula Film Festival in Croatia, and MMX Open Art in Berlin. Her text-based projects have been published in VECTOR Artists Journal and Drain Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, and her artwork has been featured in BOMB, Lookie-Lookie, The Stranger, and Dossier Journal. She is a recipient of a Boomerang Fund for Artists Grant and has participated in residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Yaddo, and Abrons Arts Center.