Elisabeth Johs is a New York based curator and co-founder of boutique art firm Trotter&Scholer and partner of Art She Says, an online art and media platform designed to empower women. We talk to her to discover the inspiration behind the theme of her current partnership exhibition with SINGULART: ‘The Butterfly Effect’.
What inspired the theme of this exhibition?
The theme for this exhibition was inspired by reflecting on the events of the past year and the changes that have taken place both on a collective level and also on an individual level in my life. The pandemic struck me as an event which led to profound change for many of us. It made me think about events and matter, and matter as subject to cause and effect. Matter is never standing still. Where do we fit into the chaos of cause and effect, perhaps it is one’s ability to be always in a state of change and transformation.
The metaphor : A butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause hurricanes in Texas, points to a narrative plot that helps people communicate about phenomena of chance and randomness, concepts that are inherently difficult for people to grasp. We don’t know why we bumped into this person randomly on a sunny day, who goes on to change the direction of our path, however the coincidences in our lives are what leads us to our destinies. Patterns are simply systems we impose on the world to make sense of the chaos.
What is your vision for this exhibition and what message do you hope to impart?
I hope the exhibition brings attention to a selection of artists who I have followed and loved for a while. Singulart is an international platform which allows collectors and lovers of art to discover artists from all over the world. I hope the curatorial perspective on chance and randomness will invite the viewers to look at the coincidences in their lives as meaningful in some capacity. Paying attention to the coincidences in my own life has brought meaning to some of the otherwise incomprehensible turn of events and helped me connect the dots.
How has the online format of this show affected your curation process?
I wanted it to be an international exhibition because I believe that is the most important role that the internet and online shows can play at the moment – the ability to connect and understand perspectives from places far away from us.
On what basis have the artists in this exhibition been chosen?
I purposely made a selection of international artists. In the exhibition you will find an artist for example from South Africa, Luia from Italy, and Ziad from Saudi. The works to me, all represent an aspect of reality. Each of the artists have used their choice of material to make an imprint of time with their work. Looking at Anya’s work I feel a sense of calmness and organization of the material through her weaving. There are patterns and systems that create beautiful work. In Jack’s work, I see the chaos and randomness but destined coincidences.
Do you predict that the abstract paintings will handle your topic differently than the figurative paintings?
I find that the abstract paintings embody the motion of change, cause and effect where the figurative paintings give an impression of the human experience of this chance and randomness.
Do you think that this exhibition might have its own butterfly effect – what might that be?
When this exhibition goes live, it may be discovered by someone new and they may purchase a work from one of the artists and ship it to their home wherever they live. That work might be hanging in their living room and seen by a friend visiting who is mesmerized by the work and happens to be a director of a local museum. The director asks the artist to participate in a museum show, or they might meet and fall in love. The possibilities are endless. One thing leads to another and the butterfly flapping its wings in china may just cause a hurricane in Texas.
Thank you Elisabeth for answering our questions.