Artist Jill O’Bryan and team install her work one billion breaths in a lifetime on the corner of 21st & Q Streets, NW, right outside the museum (listen close for the answer to the question in this blog post’s title!).
The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.
Hold Nothing is an effort to bring form to the formless—to realize the potential of the unseen. It is a cast from my own hands, the distance between the two edges of the work the actual distance from my body’s left and right outstretched arms. Skin, the outer layer of the body, is also revealed as an edge where the individual self ends and everything else begins. In this work, the inside (of my hands) becomes the outside (of the work). Our respect and awareness for material reality is often more than that for the non-material or the non-visible; we usually think of “nothing” as negative. I am attempting here to show that even nothing is something—even nothing has its own unique form. The result is Hold Nothing.
The sculpture is of polished chrome, at eye level, and close to the sidewalk so that as you walk by your reflection moves and so does that of the environment with relation to you. The light there is really active because it’s filtered through the foliage, so sometimes parts of the text disappear and then reappear. Your movements animate this text about corporeal motion, embodiment, and time.
Jill O’Bryan, artist