Pace Live

Performance with Caitlin Cherry's "Quaternion"

Featuring Moor Mother, Vitche-Boul Ra, Daigi-Ann, and Ingrid Raphaël

Published Sunday, Dec 19, 2021

As part of the group exhibition Convergent Evolutions: The Conscious of Body Work, which was on view at the gallery’s 510 W 25th Street space in New York this fall, Pace Live presented a one-time, multi-ensemble performance centered on artist Caitlin Cherry’s kinetic painting-installation Quaternion (2021). The event was curated by Online Sales Director Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle and Pace Live Curatorial Director Mark Beasley, and it featured live performances by the musician, poet, activist, and visual artist Camae Ayewa, who is widely known as Moor Mother, and dancers Vitche-Boul Ra, Daigi-Ann, and Ingrid Raphaël.

With audience members gathered around Quaternion, a dynamic piece that combines elements of sculpture and painting, the participating dancers produced lyrical movements in and around the moveable artwork. All the while, Moor Mother’s accompanying sounds created a totalizing, transportive effect in the space as part of the performance’s explorations of the relationships between Black femininity, hyper-capitalism, surveillance, painting, poetry, and resistant music. Throughout the event, Quaternion was adjusted to present new modes of seeing the work and its surrounding space.

Featuring figurative and abstract elements, Quaternion reflects Cherry’s deep interest in the aesthetics of digital realms and her longstanding focus on representations of Black femininity. Cherry’s practice spans painting, installation, and sculpture, and she said in an interview with Boyle, Beasley, and Moor Mother, “I understand art—painting, specifically—as being able to catalogue culture in a very specific, long-term way.”

The artist’s union of painting and sculpture in Quaternion is part of her longstanding investigations of the ways that “paintings exist in a network,” as she put it, of varied physical and social contexts. The work is also engaged with Cherry’s mathematically minded compositions. Inspired in part by the elliptical movements and technological capabilities of satellites, Quaternion takes its title from a complex number system that is used to map the ways three dimensional objects move in space.

“I wanted to make a sculpture that was inspired by movement in a bunch of different ways,” Cherry said of the work, adding that it represents “two dimensionality meeting three dimensionality” and emphasizing its ability to “come off the wall and confront the viewer in a slightly different way.”

Activated by the dancers and Moor Mother’s music, Quaternion took on this shapeshifting quality described by Cherry in the one-off Pace Live event. In the performance, the work became a site of experimentation across mediums and disciplines.

“It’s really exciting to collaborate in the art world with other Black femmes,” Moor Mother said in the interview with Boyle, Beasley, and Cherry. “Anytime that we can connect, it’s always powerful.”

Pace Live — Watch a Performance with Caitlin Cherry's "Quaternion", Dec 19, 2021