Residency Unlimited

This side, or the other…

Pavle Banović, "The world is just a word", video still, 2023.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space
88 Essex Street (inside the Essex Street Market)
October 9 – October 31, 2020
Wednesday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm

Residency Unlimited and Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space presents This side, or the other…, the culminating group exhibition of new work by the 2020 NYC-based artist residents Elizabeth Moran, Carlos Rosales-Silva, Christopher Udemezue, and Ziyang Wu. This side, or the other… features works conceived and manifested through the lens of our current moment of increasingly polarized debates around historical accuracy and alternative facts, migration and borders, death and rebirth, immunity and spirituality, falling on one side (or the other) in response to our long-standing democratic and constitutional crisis.

View installation images here.
This side, or the other...

The 2020 NYC-based artists were selected from an open call of over 180 submissions reviewed by a panel of art professionals: Natasha Becker, an independent curator, writer, and a co-founder of Assembly Room; Ilk Yasha, an arts administrator, multidisciplinary facilitator, educator, and Studio Museum Institute Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Rachel Gugelberger, RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs. The three-month residency program was indelibly shaped and formed by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism — the program launched April 13 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC and concluded in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests erupting around the globe. During the three-month residency, artists conducted weekly virtual studio visits with guest curator/critics, made virtual presentations (available on RU’s website), attended information sessions, hosted salons, and participated in weekly discussions on topics ranging from photography to IMF’s role in Jamaica to universal basic income and sex work.

Elizabeth Moran’s research-based practice is informed by a preoccupation with the subjectivity of facts that take form in photography, audio, text, and found objects. For This side, or the other…, Moran presents Rose Main Reading Room (East), a video from her ongoing research project Against the Best Possible Sources, which examines the earliest history of the first professional fact-checkers, a role invented in 1922 by Time magazine, and held exclusively by women until 1971. The video features imagery from the ceiling mural of the Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library, where fact-checkers did their research, and considers what is real (truth), what may appear to be real, and what is a simulacrum—a replacement of reality. Presenting a perpetual sunrise or sunset, the video illustrates a moment suspended in time that never reaches resolution. Rose Main Reading Room (East) echoes many of our experiences during quarantine, in particular the act of looking outside from inside as the days blend together. Viewing the video from inside the gallery, the subtle image is almost overpowered by the daylight coming in. Only when the sun sets does the video become readily visible, but only to those on the street looking in.

Elizabeth Moran, Rose Main Reading Room (East), 2020. Digital video recording (still). Courtesy of the artist.

Carlos Rosales-Silva’s practice considers a deep history of making that spans the complex visual communications of pre-colonial indigenous culture. In the installation Amanacer/Atardecer, the artist presents an obelisk of his own design that combines painting and publishing practices into a compact, multifaceted, and architectural object and container. The installation references the burial and unearthing of the Sun Stone of the Mexica people of the Valley of Mexico once ruled by the Aztec Empire. Deeply influenced by his elders, Amanacer/Atardecer also serves as an abstracted visualization of the unearthing of the artist’s personal history.

Carlos Rosales-Silva, Tonantzin, 2020. Crushed stone and sand in acrylic paint on panel. Courtesy of the artist.

A penchant for interviews and storytelling has deeply informed Christopher Udemezue’s visual art practice with a focus on his Jamaican heritage and the complexities of desire for connection, personal mythologies, generational trauma, healing, and his mother’s experience immigrating to the United States from Jamaica. Over the course of his residency, Udemezue read Joy DeGruy’s book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, and her recommendations on healing cross-generationally have had a particular impact on the artist. The works created for the exhibition center on ideas of uprooting anti-Blackness, the work of self-reflection, the necessity of harnessing joy within Black children, and extending grace and empathy within the Black community.

Christopher Udemezue, sinking, 2020. Canvas, acrylic, gold leaf, sand, resin, and objects found in Jamaica. Image: Residency Unlimited.

Ziyang Wu is a Chinese artist based in New York who draws from contemporary technology, digital power structures, popular culture and the dynamics between identity and community and the alienation of both body and spirit. Where Did Macy Go? is an 11-episode animated video told through a series of reports by its main character Macy and their encounter with “the epidemic,” life under quarantine, the search for their grandfather’s farm, and their revival. The video explores the collapse of old community structures, the emergence of a new community after decollectivization, Confucian obedience vs. social obedience, the new tele-republic of home, “mask politics,” and social justice under the pandemic. Originally posted on TikTok, the video installation is a physical manifestation of an online project created in response to our contemporary moment of fear, complexity, and confusion.

Ziyang Wu, Where Did Macy Go? (Still), 2020. Color digital video with sound. Courtesy of the artist.

This side, or the other… is curated by RU Residency Program Director & Curator of Programs Rachel Gugelberger with RU Communications Coordinator & NYC Residency Program Assistant Alyssa Alexander.

The 2020 NYC-Based Artist Residency Program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council, The New York Community Trust, and generous support from individual donors.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is following social distancing protocol and CDC guidelines to protect staff and visitors. The gallery will be limited to four people at a time and visitors are asked to maintain six-feet between them. Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry.

Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is located inside Essex Market, which is fully accessible by ADA standards. The gallery can be accessed from any ground floor entrance. Cuchifritos Gallery welcomes assistance dogs and has wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities on the lower level and 2nd floor, which can be accessed by the east-side elevator. For access inquiries please contact Artists Alliance at or (212) 420-9202.

About Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space is a program of Artists Alliance Inc. (AAI). Founded in 1999 by 40 artists living and working on the Lower East Side, AAI is dedicated to launching, strengthening, and advancing the vision of emerging and underrepresented artists and curators through fully-funded residencies, paid exhibition opportunities, and commissioned projects. AAI cultivates art practices that challenge the way we experience ourselves, our communities, and our world, and aims to widen the audience for contemporary art by encouraging public dialogue using art as a catalyst.

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