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Elena Ailes

Your Mouth as a Gaping Square


October 2019

Curated by Fulla Abdul-Jabbar


Courtesy of the artist

The Green Lantern Press and Ski Club are pleased to present a solo exhibition by Elena Ailes, Your Mouth as a Gaping Square. In this exhibition, Ailes considers the body as the site that mediates language, its utterance, and its interpretation. The show consists of sculptures that apply traditional stone carving and mold-making methods to forms found in linguistic schematics, animal biology, and dark holes in the earth—whether natural or built. The result is a collection of muted bodies whose expression is held still, paused in the moments before sound and gesture offer explicit meaning. In creating space for what is articulable only in the absence of language, Ailes questions the primacy of clarity through works that contain language’s absence and also its potential. A mouth closed has a tongue inside it, resting in the dark.


Elena Ailes (b. Albuquerque, NM) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator concerned with the encounters, intimacies, and discordances found between worlds and ways of being—actions, bodies, histories, plant, animal, mineral. She is interested in that which makes her a better person and a worse person, especially in theory. In reality, she is an artist and writer living and working in Chicago, IL. She received her MFA in Sculpture and MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has presented her texts, videos, and installations widely, including at the SculptureCenter (NYC), Randy Alexander Gallery (Chicago), Sector 2337 (Chicago), the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Cambridge), and 4th Ward Project Space (Chicago.) She is the cofounder of jeux d’été, an artist-run curatorial project, and currently teaches at SAIC.

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