At Cydonia, Twin Brothers Alan & Michael Fleming Present Singular Artistic Identity

At Cydonia, Twin Brothers Alan & Michael Fleming Present Singular Artistic IdentityEXPAND
Marcia Filipowicz

Alan and Michael Fleming have spent their whole lives together. These Brooklyn-based twin artists didn't just grow up mirror reflections of one another, they decided to turn it into an artistic practice. Their latest body of work, Gemini, is currently on display at Cydonia Gallery, in which they use a variety of media to explore how their bodies relate to space and architecture, blending into environments as part of a structure or becoming their own autonomous human sculptures, exploring moments of stillness. If you caught the performance piece, Pillars, at Klyde Warren Park Saturday, you saw these same interests fully embodied. 

Three separate times they invaded the park.  It was almost like the beginning of one of those Terminator films except they weren’t naked or violent. The twins took cues from acrobatics, but simplified the execution making it more about form than athleticism. Wearing matching outfits, the twins approached each other with careful choreography, locking arms, making geometric poses, stacking their bodies by standing on each other’s shoulders, sometimes in front of reflective surfaces giving the appearance they were four people. Walking side by side and sometimes standing back to back, they traversed the entire park. Parents and their children turned away from food trucks long enough to wonder what was taking place. “Are they robots?” one child asked. “Yeah, honey, they’re robots,” was the reply. Some of the kids tried to mimic them. 

The performance piece takes its name, "Pillars," from the two resin stone Greek fluted columns standing in for the twins at the front of the gallery exhibit, which frames the show. The pillars do not go all the way to the ceiling; they are freestanding, putting them somewhere between architecture and object. They are not only a great introduction to the show, but to the work of Alan and Michael Fleming. During performances for video, the twins noticed that their doubling would perfectly mimic symmetry in everyday architecture, like two beams supporting a ceiling.

Twins are inextricably connected, which makes them interesting collaborators. In addition to performance art and sculpture, Alan and Michael Fleming also create visual art together, ranging from drawings, videos and photography. But their art always relates back to the process and practice of collaboration. The ten binary collaborative drawings for Gemini called "Knot Drawings" are drawn in red and blue, and make you reach for a pair of absent 3-D glasses. The aim is actually to give the viewer two perspectives on this series of knots. "Bonsai Training" is another series of drawings using this technique with each brother represented by a color, presenting overlapping bonsai trees drawn on transparent acetate.

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Gemini also includes a series of cement sculptures, casts of the twins’ hands in poses based on their acrobatic performances. One is called "Platform (Banquine)," showing fists locked on wrists, when two bases form a platform for a third acrobat to be launched into the air, like you might see in cheerleading. The sculptures are heavy, referencing building materials not only with concrete but also in terms of a bodies being a floor to stand on. They also capture the tension one feels right before being propelled into the air. 

See Gemini through July 31. More info at cydoniagallery.com.


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