Chris Zain: Admission of Aggregate

Roman Susan

Nov. 10, 2024 - Dec. 3, 2017

1224 W. Loyola Avenue
Chicago, 60626
PHONE 773-270-1224

Chris Zain: Admission of Aggregate
November 10, 2017 – December 3, 2017

Opening: Friday, November 10 // 6-10 PM
Hours: Tue-Wed-Thu-Fri-Saturdays 3-6 PM through November 22; Sundays 3-6 PM after Thanksgiving

“You really could become lost in this apparently blank and empty white space. In its need to differentiate itself from that which was without, nothing could be differentiated within. This space was clearly a model for how a body ought to be: enclosed, contained, sealed. The ideal body: without flesh of any kind, old or young, beautiful or battered, scented or smelly; without movement, external or internal; without appetites. (That is why the kitchen was such a disturbing place – but not nearly as disturbing as the toilet.) But perhaps it was more perverse than that; perhaps this was a model of what the body should be like from within. Not a place of fluids, organs, muscles, tendons and bones all in a constant, precarious and living tension with each other, but a vacant, hollow, whited chamber, scraped clean, cleared of any evidence of the grotesque embarrassments of an actual life. No smells, no noises, no color; no changing from one state to another and the uncertainty that comes with it; no exchanges with the outside world and the doubt and the dirt that does with that; no eating, no drinking, no pissing, no shitting, no sucking, no fucking, no nothing.” –David Batchelor, Chromophobia

Suspended in time and undefined by polished surfaces or clean lines, Admission of Aggregate is a snapshot of matter in flux. Over the course of the exhibition, wall sculptures rust, scented spheres decay, and the densely packed aggregate covering the floor shifts as viewers explore the space. Celebratory of its imperfections, the installation is a liminal space, a temporary pause in the process of becoming. While the individual works are finished by traditional means, the composite is evocative of a 1960s Happening, most potent when activated by the audience. Showing its minutia in the various particulates making up its form and color, the work—and its desire for human interaction—makes apparent the destruction inherent in all life. Relying on the dysfunction of the space and a spectrum of textures, Zain creates room for visitors to reflect on and estrange themselves in relation to one’s own form—everyone’s only body, an aggregate of time, ideas, and experience.

Chris Zain is an interdisciplinary artist with an insatiable curiosity in the boundary of the body in all of its physical and spiritual permutations. Her work circulates through the inability of the body to escape its edges, destined to be a self-contained sack of flesh holding mind, body and soul. Through installation she plays with the poetic and gestalt relationship of objects crafted in ceramics, fiber, paper, tar and more. These organic materials reveal the physical qualities of the body in all its mental and emotional states. Her work posits that re-activating sensorial awareness (to the body) simultaneously triggers a sense of empathy towards the fragility of being contained.

Zain holds a BA in Art History and Journalism from Loyola University Chicago, and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has shown her work most recently at Elastic Arts, Terrain Biennial, Chicago Artists Coalition, For the Thundercloud Generation, the Luggage Store Gallery, (San Francisco), and Brown University’s David Winton Bell Gallery (Providence). Zain is an art educator and has ardently pursued alternative educational spaces through participating in residencies at MASS MoCA, Chicago Artists Coalition, Ox-bow School of Art, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Byrdcliffe Artist Colony and ArtReach at Lillstreet Art Center. For additional information, please visit

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