Petah Coyne, Untitled #1424 (Zhang Yimou), 2016. Specially formulated wax, silk flower, vintage italian doily, glass vitrine, velvet, synthetic feathers, velvet ribbons, thread, wire, tape, and pin, 12 x 14 x 12 in.

Why Did Petah Coyne’s Work Make Me Cry?

Eleven years ago, I wept openly in the middle of Petah Coynes touring survey “Above and Beneath the Skin.” Within compulsory, regulated social systems the ones that determine what options are available for a subject’s action and identification uncontrolled crying is a breach of those mores, a breakdown and demonstration of the effects of life struggling in relation to power. But what tensions snapped that morning when I encountered Coyne’s sculptures hanging, standing, and spreading across the walls of a darkened gallery? What loss and eventuality did I feel? Coyne’s sculptures can only be grasped from a distance, across time. They can finally be touched only in ghost form, after they have become embedded in the viewer’s interior life. Now, gathering my memories of that exhibition and other Coyne shows over the past 15 years, I realize that Coyne makes memories. …see the entire article in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.