Image: Blowing (2017), Hair, glue, fan 20 x 21 x 4.5.” See more here.
Introducing Mira Dayal (b. Franklin, IN; lives and works in NYC), one of the artists participating in New Poetics of Labor 2018.
Mira Dayal’s work focuses on materials that might otherwise be overlooked—hair and dust, paint flakes and residues. Her sculptures, installations, and photographs understand these materials to be lost information, stray pixels that escaped their transformation into an image. In using these materials, Dayal reframes the excesses of daily life and continues the feminist tradition of questioning the value of certain types of labor—especially minor gestures that become compulsive or compulsory. Her works often elicit a sense of unease, not via the grotesque but in a slow, subtle process of accumulating and unraveling abstractions (which are often linguistic, material, or visual translations) of those bodily and material excesses. Dust becomes a trace of history and hair a dead container of the living.
In her recent work, Dayal has delved further into the possibilities of exchange between bodies, or between bodies and their environments. For a collaborative project with Amanda Turner Pohan, “Slow Lick,” the artists used artificial saliva, a manufactured substance used for material tests, to wash the gallery in preparation for the exhibition—as if the space itself were salivating or maintaining its hygiene. The saliva came to represent both a self-aware bodily excess and an anonymous, collective human donor, for the saliva was in fact only manufactured to resemble saliva, rather than being modeled directly from a specific donor’s saliva. With this and other projects, Dayal is also interested in the intimacies of collaboration, which may turn undesirable or, at worst, parasitic. Bed to Bed is her most recent work in this vein, taking the bed as a site of overt intimacy with textural, relational, olfactory, and visual traces of bodies that may be shifted into other media or displaced onto other relationships.
Mira Dayal is an artist, writer, editor, and curator based in New York. She is the founding editor of JAC, co-director of the collaborative artist publication prompt:, co-director of the email project of missing out, and an assistant editor at Artforum. During summer 2018, she will be in residence at Art in General.