Stacy Lundeen, Left Wing Tics. Part of NOCTURNE!

Stacy Lundeen, Left Wing Tics
Opens October 15th during †NOCTURNE† (Halifax’s art-at-night thing)
Runs: October 24 – November 25th

This exhibition will look at a new series of work by Montreal based artist Stacy Lundeen entitled Left Wing Tics, it will explore the notion of political and personal ideology through the invention of a secular icon – the left wing. This work will explore the idea that good works and intentions are frequently remolded as pathetic, and that failure often reflects a nobility, or vice versa.

Stacy Lundeen, words on Left Wing Tics
interview by Chris Lloyd

CL- This is an interview between Chris Lloyd, former director of the Khyber, a decade ago now, and Stacy Lundeen take two (first interview recorded was accidentally not recorded). Your show at the Khyber is called Left Wing Tics, I thought your title conjured up images of Mile End hipsters and insects.
SL- Was it bed bugs?
CL- Yeah I really took it literally, Mile End hipsters with bed bugs. Set me straight, what does “left wing tics” mean?
SL- I guess what I had been thinking about was this idea of a socialist tendency, or the left wing as being perceived and equated with a bodily malfunction or disorder that happens in spite of yourself, that it could be compared to something regrettable, when in actuality I think of it as being one of the most enviable and commendable things about human nature, it was this idea of the body revolting against itself through social empathy.
CL- I like that the title joins two things. I sympathize because I think of the left wing as being the more sympathetic and humanistic and that maybe one who is more conservative sees it as more of an aberration, equating government as this imposition on us, and believing more in the triumph of the individual, while the left wing envisions taxes to be more of a safety net or a network that can assist those who are less fortunate and everyone contributes according to their means.
SL- I think that people who are “left wing” are able to empathize, and place themselves in another’s position, and care about it, a transfer of emotional understanding through the body, in an organic way. I wanted to bring the work close to the body, close to the individual, relating it to a tic.
CL- You know I kind of have this tic when I’m tired or have been staying up too late. It happened a lot when I was the director of the Khyber, I slept less and drank more.
SL- How long were you at the Khyber?
CL- Well, lets see… I joined the board in ’99 after I graduated, and started as interim director in 2001, I became director because I think no one really wanted to work for what the salary was at the time, which was like 10 bucks. (Over the sound of Chris’s year-old daughter, Rose, crying)
SL- You know this reminds me of a work you and I and Rose collaborated on recently, which will be in the show.
CL- Called the Indoctrination of a Small Child.
SL- A Portrait of the artist attempting the indoctrination of a small
CL- Well she’s kind of a rebel and a daredevil, so you know…
SL- I Guess only time will tell.
CL- So the work in your show does really reference the body, and by extension the body politic, these left wing tics are materialized in the cellophane and representations of deformed bodies. Are they representations of something that is striving towards an ideal that is flawed, is that a close reading?
SL- I think what I’m going for is a representation of the body that is not ideal, using specific materials, that have utilitarian properties, like cellophane, tin foil, silicone calking and spray foam, materials that are not normally associated with art or preciousness and value. I mix them with other objects and that charges them with allegorical associations. Lately I have been extending the images beyond the actual photographs into the frames so that you have a three-dimensional understanding of the materials within the photograph.
CL- When I was renovating my apartment I would often blast a whole can of insulation foam into the walls, it’s so old that there isn’t anything behind the wood lathe, no insulation, so I’d do it just to get something behind there. That’s fun stuff to use.
SL- I love seeing what an entire container of material looks like, so I’ll use a whole tube of construction caulking or spray-foam in one shot. I love shooting off a whole can of whipped cream, or shaving foam, or cheese out of a can. It’s not often you get to see the entire contents of something, we’re very incremental.
CL- When I was at NSCAD there were probably a lot of students that were working on those kinds of projects that were about that process of realizing and making it literal, this is what it looks like when it’s in a can, this is what it looks like out of a can… Are you doing an artist talk at NSCAD?
SL- Yes, I’m hoping to do one in collaboration with our friend, and former NSCAD graduate Jon Knowles as a kind of performance. He’ll be in town working on one of his own projects while the show is up. I’ve been Halifax a few times and to the Khyber. I think its one of the coolest artist-run centers I’ve seen, just a really interesting space. I heard that it was under your watch as director that many of the improvements to the building happened.
CL- Well yeah, when I was there I looked into some of the lease agreements we had with the city and found that they were actually responsible for a certain amount of up-keep per year. That’s one of the reasons we were able to have plywood in the walls of the gallery. It was also around that time that we renovated and removed the 4 foot high wainscoting from the spaces too. It was largely through the help of volunteers and supporters that we managed to get that initiative done. A lot of carrying 12-foot sheets of dry wall up the stairs.
SL- You and I are no strangers to carrying material up the stairs, we do a lot of that at DHC art (the gallery Stacy and Chris both work for). For the current exhibition we had to carry those twelve hundred pound crates up the stairs. Speaking of which, we have to work in the morning. Then you’re off to the Maritime’s for your vacation and to get tattoo work done. Drive safe and stay out of trouble.
CL- Yeah you too, good luck with the show.

Stacy Lundeen is an artist, art handler and technician in Montreal. Left Wing Tics opens during the evening of Nocturne at
the Khyber on October 15th. Chris Lloyd is an artist and the chief technician at DHC art in Montreal.

CIRCA 1995