At the outset of our work together on this In Person exhibition, I spent three days with Essa Lucienne in her workshop/gallery/photo-studio space. Rather than look at work (there were only remnants from the prior show), we talked (not even so much about the show) and read (sources, touchstones, whatever books Essa had already moved in).
The experience was sincere, social, and intensely constructive—a reset of a curator-artist relationship. This type of interaction correlates well, in fact, with Essa's mode of practice overall—as an image-maker, a sculptor, a performer, and on. On our first day, she summed up this position rather neatly:
“I use contingencies to figure out if I can overcome the strangeness of the reality around me.”