Constance DeJong
On a Continuous Present

Preview: Thursday 5 October, 6 - 8.30pm
Exhibition continues: 6 October – 8 December 2023

Opening hours: Wednesday - Friday, 11am - 5pm
(or by appointment)

exhibition info | events


Download Press Release as PDF

Barbara Sawyer, Large Red Weave (detail) image
Detail from NightWriters, a performance and digital artist's book (2017). Image courtesy of the artist.

Chelsea Space is pleased to announce the first solo gallery exhibition in the UK of the American artist, writer and performer, Constance DeJong. Comprising material from DeJong’s expansive career, this exhibition highlights DeJong's iterative approach to art making — where language, text and image making combine — to further complicate our understanding of where an art work begins and ends.

Taking its title from Gertrude Stein’s assertion that writing and reading language is a simultaneous experience or ‘continuous present’, where seeing and saying are inseparable, the exhibition will explore DeJong’s innovative and complex explorations into the intersections of the formal avantgarde through experimental prose writing, multi-media spoken text and media works, and usernavigated digital projects.

First visiting London in 1976 to perform Modern Love, a spoken-word performance derived from her experimental novel of the same name, DeJong’s experiments with writing include self-publishing; founding the imprint Standard Editions in 1976 to publish her own work alongside the surrealist Dorothea Tanning. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication featuring material relating to this visit alongside other archival elements and an interview between DeJong and curator Lara Pan, in addition to a one-night only performance at the experimental venue IKLECTIK on Tuesday 10 October.

Constance DeJong: On a Continuous Present was made possible with Art Fund support and cocurated by Karen Di Franco and Lara Pan. With thanks to the artist, Tony Oursler and Bureau, New York.

Constance DeJong (born 1945, Ohio) is an American artist, writer, and performer, producing texts and new media-based work for performance and theatre, audio, and video installations. A prominent figure in the 1970s and '80s New York City downtown art scene, DeJong has also been an influential teacher and mentor to a generation of aspiring artists; she taught on the Hunter College MFA Studio Art Program between the 1990s - 2020. Her work has been presented at Renaissance Society, Chicago; the Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; The Wexner Center, Columbus, OH; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and in New York at The Kitchen, Threadwaxing Space, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Dia Center for the Arts. She composed the libretto for the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha in 1983, which has been staged at opera houses worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, NY; The Netherlands National Opera, Rotterdam, NL, and The Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY. Her first book Modern Love (1976) was reprinted in 2018 and Reader, a collection of 18 works that reflect the multiple forms of DeJong’s language, was published in 2022, both by Primary Information. Constance DeJong is represented by Bureau, New York:

Lara Pan is an independent curator, writer and researcher. Her fields of interest include art, science, technology, sound, architecture, and unproven phenomena, with a focus on interdisciplinary projects that explore the intersections between these topics. She has curated numerous exhibitions in major art institutions, galleries, and non-profits internationally including Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall (2023), Jamestown Art Center; Tony Oursler, Experimentum Crucis (2020) Match Gallery/Metni Muzej of MGML, Ljubljana; Carolee Schneemann, From Then and Beyond, (2019) Kunsthalle Winterthur, which included an edited volume of the same name.


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