Lauren Seiden – Solo

Lauren Seiden – Something Must Break

First floor ‘Window Licker’ artist // Manon Steyaert

The exhibition coincides with Brussels Gallery Weekend.
The gallery will open Thurday 7th from 5pm to 9pm
Friday and Saturday from 11am to 7pm
Sunday from 11am to 6pm


Gallery Nosco is pleased to present Something Must Break, a solo exhibition by Lauren Seiden, on view from September 7 – October 28 2023. Composed of a site-specific installation and a series of independent sculptures made of objects sourced from local flea markets in Brussels over a month-long residency, the exhibition explores ideas of invisible labor, suspended time, material transformation, and durational acts of maintenance and care.

Lauren Seiden recasts graphite, a traditional drawing medium, into unexpected, sculptural forms to bring the act of drawing into the foreground and redefine its terms and possibilities. By obscuring the definability of material or object, Seiden aims to upend the hierarchy of art materials, diversifying the male-dominated canon of sculpture and its associated discussions on form and materials.

In Cracked Reflections, 2023, the exhibition’s central installation, once familiar and now cast-off domestic objects, including cut crystal bowls, glassware, serving pieces, etc., are alchemically transformed through the artist’s meticulous, repetitive application of graphite. Organized on the gallery floor to encourage viewers to look downward, Cracked Reflections consists of a grouping of these household wares filled with water and graphite powder. Their silvered surfaces are intentionally “cracked” by the artist’s hand to create compositions specific to each vessel and the overall installation. Over time, the graphite forms patterns on the water’s surface, which shift in response to the local environment and inevitably sink—rendering a transparent surface opaque. Gravity physically pulls the “drawing” down into the depths of three-dimensionality. By intentionally not “maintaining” the installation’s original presentation (done every three days in prior iterations), water will evaporate over time and cause the graphite to sink until it coats the bottom of the serving pieces. Maintenance and repetition is a durational act of keeping a thing, or the illusion of it, static and unchanged. Seiden’s decision to not maintain the installation also reveals the centrality of labor by displaying the effects of its absence.

Seiden’s autonomous sculptures are surrogates or artifacts of domestic labor performed by women to keep their house and/or self-maintained, such as cooking, cleaning, dusting, serving, washing, etc. These mundane rituals are essential to maintain order, but invisible in that the tasks themselves and the people who perform them are often unrecognized, furthering the question: What are the systems of labor that we recognize? At what cost? How do we resist and comply?

Begrimed is an arrangement of antique soaps petrified under layers of hand-applied, silvery graphite. The soap’s original purpose, functionality, and history are simultaneously erased, enshrined, and suspended in time.

In Nothing Untouched, a mannequin’s arm, burnished in metallic graphite, extends from the gallery wall, while its delicate hand, left in its original worn state, reaches out as if to touch the work. Gesturing toward Cracked Reflections, perhaps this hand points to the piece’s maintenance (or lack thereof) and acknowledges the human touch and interaction that created the cracks on the seductive surface of the pools. This seemingly simple gesture addresses the onlooker and artist simultaneously.