Talk: Jenny Yurshansky, BLACKLISTED A Planted Allegory (Recollections)

26 April 2018, 19:00–21:00

Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory (Recollections), Jenny Yurshansky

Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory (Recollections) is an artist edition, which contains distinctly textured components. It is a box that contains original images, short poetic narratives, a plastic-coated index sheet, an introductory essay by Glenn Harcourt, and an interview with the artist and curator Ciara Ennis. It is a record of the 133 blacklisted alien-invasive plant species that make up this project’s collection and is the final result of four years of research. This publication was developed as the last component tied to the exhibition, Jenny Yurshansky: Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory, which took place 2015 at both Kungliga Konsthögskolan in Stockholm and Pitzer College Art Galleries in Los Angeles.

The stories trace the plants’ journey to California and their capricious experiences once they settled into the landscape. The recollections are written from the perspectives of the plants in numerous styles such as travelogue, journal, oral history, letters home, poems, spells, and recipes.

These plants, for the most part, arrived in California as a result of human activity. The narratives they are relating are dual, they speak as much to their precarious place in California’s landscape as much as they are also speaking on behalf of generations of their human migrant counterparts. By anthropomorphizing these plants they are removed from the anonymous grouping of the scientific classification system that they have been organized and represented by in the rest of the project and are offered individual voices, much like the immigrants whose stories cannot be easily summed up by one anecdote or characterization. What the stories of these plants offer us is a reflection of a landscape that is cultural as much as it is botanical.

Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory investigates the distinction between native versus invasive species as determined by the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee, a scientific organization charged with creating a statewide “living list” of invasive species since late 2009. The discourse surrounding a list of “invasive” or “alien” flora and fauna species has interesting and fruitful correlations to policies regarding immigration, multiculturalism and evolving ideas about national identities that are inherently tied to the identity of border cultures. The project allows viewers to engage in a meaningful and nuanced way with how these issues are thought of in direct and applicable terms.

Jenny Yurshansky was born in Rome by way of Moldova. She received her MFA from UC Irvine and completed the post‐graduate Critical Studies course at Malmö Art Academy. In 2018 she will be an Artist-in-Residence at Bemis Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska and has just returned from a residency at HaMiffal in Jerusalem. In 2016 she was an IASPIS Artist-in-Residence at Arts Initiative Tokyo and was invited by Yiddishkayt to travel as a guest artist to Moldova where she began research on her family’s refugee history. In 2015 she was a Guest Artist Researcher at Kungliga Konsthögskolan in Stockholm which concluded with a solo show, following a solo show at Pitzer College Art Galleries. In 2012 she was an invited Artist-in-Residence connected to the exhibition Odor Water Limo in northern Norway. In 2010 Yurshansky was the first international artist awarded the Maria Bonnier Stipend from Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm. The artist has also participated in group shows at Bonniers Konsthall, M HKA, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Laguna Beach Art Museum, MAK Center, and LAXART, the Torrance Art Museum, the Armory Center for the Arts, the 7th Istanbul Biennial, the Hammer Museum, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, and the Toyota Museum. She is the recipient of numerous artist and curatorial grants. Yurshansky is also the co-founder of Persbo Studio an artist residency, sculpture park, and creative space just outside of Uppsala.

The artist multiple is available for pre-order, contact Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris from Index.