Juxtapoz Journal – Genevieve Cohn: Carrying Stones


You need to have answered the telephone! I wish to hear extra from mother, that’s superb! Rising up, given you didn’t have loads of entry to conventional artwork, did you all the time know you needed to be an artist? Or was that one thing you discovered by way of the method of creating?

No, I used to be tremendous late to the sport. Taking a look at it now, it is like, how did I not know? However I feel I did not have examples. I did not even know that it was a chance, when it comes to constructing a life round one thing that I like to do.


I used to be all the time type of portray and drawing, however I wasn’t actually a type of youngsters that have been like, “I knew I used to be going to be an artist.” I had so many various pursuits. I performed soccer in highschool and I tore my ACL in my junior 12 months. That was the primary time that I began portray. Then in faculty, I majored in tradition and communication, so it was an interdisciplinary main with anthropology and sociology, and politics. However I simply saved on taking artwork courses as a result of I actually liked them. It wasn’t till my senior 12 months that I had a dialog with a professor and requested, “What ought to I take my final semester?” And she or he was, like, “Oh, it is advisable to take your self extra significantly. Have you ever thought-about grad college?” And as quickly as she gave me permission to see myself, it modified every part. As quickly as I began portray, there was simply no different method to be on this planet. But it surely was wild, as a result of it got here very personally first, after which it has been loads of world-building and understanding the world of artwork. It feels actually backward, and generally I nonetheless have impostor syndrome, the place I am like, “Oh, I did not know after I was seven that this was what I used to be going to do!” However now that I am right here, I am so glad that I had all of these totally different formative experiences and methods of pondering, methods of being important, methods of connecting to folks, methods of understanding, and writing. I feel that is what made the work what it’s.


I really like what you simply mentioned about “permission to see myself.” It does usually really feel when there may be somebody we love, or who’s a mentor, or we extremely respect, that they play this “consciousness” position. It goes again to neighborhood. They offer you that understanding that what you might not have seen has been there all alongside.

Yeah, utterly. And I am so grateful. Now I educate and I take the position so significantly. For me, personally, I do know so many individuals have these tales, so you’ve got loads of energy as an educator, to be actually considerate, and to take that accountability significantly!


What are the issues which are influencing you proper now? 

I am creating a brand new physique of labor for a present with Hashimoto Modern in New York. It’s been actually all-consuming for the previous few months. The catalyst was this guide referred to as Einstein’s Desires by Alan Lightman. It is a guide of brief tales the place every story is a world through which time exists another way. It is so magical. I learn it in faculty, and it was a type of before-and-after books.


I used to be serious about this one story specifically, the place time is formed in such a manner that you just solely reside for one rotation of the sunshine. So for those who’re born within the morning, you reside 24 hours price of sunshine—however you reside a full lifetime. And I used to be additionally serious about Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, one in every of his writings, the place there is a group of people who find themselves chained in a cave and may solely stare on the wall forward of them. So, they’ll solely know the world by way of shadows and solely by way of projections of the world occurring behind them. One particular person escapes and sees the world in actual life, so there’s the expertise of “What’s information? What’s reality?”


There’s additionally a eternally favourite, Italo Calvino. He has a group of brief tales referred to as Cosmicomics, that begin with some scientific information concerning the origins of the universe. However then he goes on to write down this weird magical, fictionalized brief story concerning the origin of the universe. So, in serious about these issues, this physique of labor is 2 communities of girls—one who was born within the evening and one who was born within the mild, they usually’re attempting to report the life that they know. They’re chasing shadows, they’re measuring the tides, they’re observing the sensory expertise of attempting to grasp the sunshine as a result of it is leaving and going to move on quickly. 


Genevieve Cohn’s solo present at Hashimoto Contemporary, Tracing Shadows, might be on view by way of December 10, 2022 in NYC. 

This characteristic was initially printed in our Winter 2023 Quarterly, available here.