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The Yet To Be at Pitzer College

Part 1: Hands/Feelers

Part 2: The Infinite Library

September 23-December 8, 2023

Julia Haft-Candell: The Yet To Be

The interdisciplinary work of artist Julia Haft-Candell comprises ceramic and bronze sculptures, drawings and paintings, and installation. Her evolving entity known as The Infinite is an alternative world with its own, values, ethics, and visual language; all documented in The Infinite: Glossary of Terms and Symbols. The Infinite seeks to produce forms of knowledge unconstrained by conventional systems or classifications, while referencing ancient structures of communication. This ethos is reflected in The Infinite School, the experimental art school that she runs from her studio, which seeks to produce alternative forms of knowledge that challenge conventional institutional practices and pedagogies.

The Infinite is central to the exhibition at Pitzer College Art Galleries and unravels across two sites titled The Yet To Be—Part 1: Hands/Feelers and Part 2: The Infinite Library. The ceramic works in Part 1: Hands/Feelers manifest hands interlocking with motifs of knots, chains, and infinity symbols carved onto their surface. These works articulate her evolving Glossary and are explored in image and text-based drawings and a stop-motion animation. Part 2: The Infinite Library formulates a participatory space. Shelving doubles as seating and is stocked with books selected by over sixty-five artists. Functioning as a respite for collective and solitary contemplation, with the generative ethos of The Infinite, the library will host readings, discussions, and conversations on art theory and practice, science fiction and craft, as well as building alternative frameworks throughout the exhibition. A third component of the exhibition, taking the form of an archive documenting the history, philosophy, and work of The Infinite School, further elucidates Haft-Candell’s conception of The Infinite.

Included in The Infinite Library are two central texts inspirational to Haft-Candell’s thinking—Octavia Butler’s post-apocalyptical novel The Parable of the Sower (1993) and Ursula K. Le Guin’s visionary essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (1986). In Butler’s future, dramatically impacted by climate change, the protagonist goes in search of Earthseed, a religion whose God shape-shifts through individual worship. While Butler reimagines the future, Le Guin reinterprets the human origin story by replacing the spear as the first tool with a carrier bag—for gathering and distributing food, objects, and stories for sharing—attributing community building as foundational rather than singular (heroic) aggression. In privileging storytelling as a creative force, Le Guin reminds us, as Donna Haraway has remarked, that “it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what concepts we think to think other concepts with,”[1] values embedded in Haft-Candell’s The Infinite.

[1] Donna Haraway, “Introduction,” in Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (London: Ignota, 2019), 10.

Press Release

This exhibition is generously supported by the Pitzer College Ceramics Studio and Residency; CANDICE MADEY, New York; and Night Gallery, Los Angeles.

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