Sina Basila, who showed her work with us in May, 2017, is participating in a new show at the Edison Price Lighting Gallery, which is part of their factory and showroom in Long Island City, Queens. The exhibition, entitled Revisions, is comprised of 10 artists who were invited to visit the factory to collect discarded raw materials used in the manufacturing process as the material basis for the work in the exhibition. The artists mostly incorporated an assortment of copper circuits, lasered steel sheets, aluminum beams and steel and aluminum shavings into sculptural pieces. I say “mostly” because Sina is also a photographer and because she had a slightly different approach to the project.
Sina’s work is based on upcycling and reusing discarded materials, so the theme of Revisions fit squarely into her practice. She typically works with materials that can be transformed into something wearable — plastic bags, nylon netting from the produce aisle, old umbrellas, etc. — and then photographs herself modeling these ephemeral garments. Working with factory materials was a new challenge, and she started by visiting Edison to collect a number of small, discarded metal pieces that she fashioned into clothing and jewelry. To document this work, she returned to the factory, after hours, to compose her self-portraits in situ.
This opportunity to work with materials specific to place, and to photograph herself in that context, adds a new dimension to Sina’s work. While most of her photographs are set against a spare backdrop, to highlight the clothing and the body, the three photographs on view at Edison integrate place into the work, narrating the origin of the materials and their transformation into something new. In one photograph, she is pictured leaning onto a workbench wearing a tinsel dress, a hat, glasses and jewelry made up of discarded metal, likely found on the floor there. Behind her are the tools of the trade, and her presence in that space gives it a surreal quality, as if she magically transformed the factory floor into some kind of sci-fi fashion set. The materials she is wearing are so transformed that you have to look closely to see what they are.
This exhibition will be on view at the Edison Price Lighting Gallery through October 2018. The Gallery, located at 41-50 22nd Street, Long Island City, is open by appointment Monday - Friday 8:30 - 5:30, and you can contact them at 718.685.0700. A review of the entire exhibition is available on Artblog. I highly recommend a visit, followed by a meal at Gordo’s Cantina for some of the best tacos you’ll find in all of NYC.