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Active Ingredient at Lisa Cooley

Organized by Alex Fleming, with Lisa Cooley and Nichole Caruso


Matt Adis

Felix Bernstein

Hannah Black

Joshua Brettel

Borden Capalino

Susan Cianciolo

Antonio Diaz

Ryan Foerster

Simon Fowler

Melanie Gilligan

Rachel Harrison

Marie Karlberg J

acob Kassay

Rob Kulisek

Andrew Lampert

Colette Lumiere

Felipe Meres

Sadaf H. Nava

Natasha Stagg

Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven

Jennifer West

Soma Wingelaar 

Active Ingredient brings together 22 artists working across a variety of media and disciplines to explore art’s tendency towards transformation, be it material, perceptual, or institutional. Taken from the language and practices of modern pharmacology, in which natural substances are decomposed to isolate useful properties that are then labeled and regulated once synthesized and mass-produced, Active Ingredient tests the conditions of artistic performativity, what it is that makes the work work. Insisting that spatial and institutional arrangements are at the heart of artistic meaning, artist and curator Alex Fleming takes his cue from Adrian Piper’s concept of catalysis, the insight that the artwork should necessitate a change in its environment. With this exhibition, the works on display are themselves rendered open to change, be it through adjacency with kindred artistic voices, through their transplantation into new contexts, or through the visitor’s own activation. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of presentations, performances, and readings will feature Felix Bernstein, Andrew Lampert, Tamio Shiraishi, and Natasha Stagg. An accompanying exhibition pamphlet with a collection of texts and other artworks by Hannah Black, Antonio Diaz, Rob Kulisek, and Soma Wingelaar will also be released during the run of the show. 

"Turning this physical manipulation of the viewer back towards the work, Sadaf H. Nava’s Crawling/Fountain is an intriguing installation, unfolding its absorbing aesthetic only through a loop of physical movements and slight connections in each piece. Referencing figurative sculpture in traditional sense, this broad structure contains fake sand and synthetic hair in addition to vinyl and plaster, delivering an ephemeral narrative and buoyant arrangement of color and form."

-Art Observer, Feb 8, 2016

Press release

New York, New York
January 17-February 14, 2016

Crawling/Fountain, 2016
Vinyl, plaster, synthetic hair, acrylic paint, faux sand
60 x 72 inches


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