Thank God You're Here
Nikita Gale has described the gist of her project last year at MoMA PS1, AUDIENCING, as a “performance without performers,” as she put it in a talk. Her latest exhibition, “Thank God You’re Here,” at 56 Henry, brings this conceptual investigation full circle, this time exploring the idea through the lens of spirituality.
The intertwining of presence and absence, further reinforced through social ritual, threads throughout the show. RECEIVERS II (2019) puns on the depiction of audio cables as an allusion to prayer and worship; the “God” in the title is felt acutely in pieces like COLLAPSE I (2021) [pictured], a collage depicting a ray of sunshine beaming through a stadium as if mid-rapture. More nods to communal spaces manifest in forms like public architecture, museums, and even caves. Gale posits that these were perhaps the earliest forms of public architecture—spaces of interchange, where humans once gathered around a hearth to share stories and community.
Fittingly, the works on view are accompanied by the soundtrack of LOCKED LUNGS (2021), a record that plays the sound of breathing on a loop. Like caves once did, lungs facilitate a life-sustaining exchange between interior and exterior—doubly poignant in a time when a respiratory disease forces us to be apart together, both present and absent.
Nikita Gale, COLLAPSE I, 2021. Collage on paper, 17 × 14 inches.