Zero Point Axis

An exhibition by artist George Quasha featuring "axial stones," paired stones configured through the artist's acts of precarious balance


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Performance
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions



Osvaldo Romberg

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


25% Formal - 75% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "Zero Point Axis," an exhibition by artist George Quasha featuring "axial stones," paired stones configured through the artist's acts of precarious balance (without alteration of stones or the addition of fixing agents). The exhibition will be on display in the galleries from April 5, 2007-May 23, 2007. The exhibition includes as well axial works on paper and axial video. The opening reception will take place on Thursday, April 5th, 2007 from 6:30-8:30pm, with a public conversation with artists Richard Torchia and George Quasha at 6pm.

Axial means awake and aligned right now, happening at zero point, free in the danger of the moment. Quasha's ongoing video work of "speaking portraits" is also featured in the exhibition. The artist puts the impossible, but inevitable, question of what art is before artists themselves, who let us in on their private space of art definition. Over 500 artists have been filmed in seven countries and seventeen languages; the result is an ongoing and constantly changing work called art is.

"In this exhibition stones are doing something different from what people expect of them. They stand improbably, carried to the edge or thrown into interdependence, and balancing on a precipice of their own making. And they can seem to be of this very moment, in the viewing, impermanent, revealed as they are, enjoined in a further nature. I call them axial, a word I use somewhat idiosyncratically to draw attention to a certain state of being - free being, or being coming into its natural state as free. The axial is not a thing: not a philosophy; not a religion; not an aesthetic; in short, not itself any of the many ways that can be used to understand it. It's more like a space, a worked space - an intentional state of awareness in which something unpredicted can occur: a unique event resulting in what seemingly embodies its origin and yet itself is original. At once unchanging and nonrepeating. The axial is what makes these stones what they are as you see them; that is, in the way that they appear and in the process by which you see them. The axial is what presents them thus, at the horizon of their own event. For me, after some years of working with them, to experience the event is to be awake at the horizon." -- George Quasha

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George Quasha (b. 1942) is an artist, poet, and author who works across mediums to explore principles in common within language, sculpture, drawing, video, sound, installation, and performance. Since the late 1970s he has collaborated in performances featuring video, language, and sound with video artist Gary Hill and poet Charles Stein. His axial stones and axial drawings have been most recently exhibited at Baumgartner Gallery in New York.

Awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, and, in 2006, a Guggenheim Fellowship in video art. For his video installation "art is: Speaking Portraits (in the performative indicative)," he filmed almost 500 artists, poets, and composers (in 7 countries and 17 languages) saying what art is.

In 1977 he founded Station Hill Press with Susan Quasha in Barrytown, New York. His 14 books include poetry (Somapoetics, Giving the Lily Back Her Hands, Ainu Dreams [with Chie Hasegawa], Preverbs); anthologies (America a Prophecy [with Jerome Rothenberg], Open Poetry [with Ronald Gross], An Active Anthology [with Susan Quasha], The Station Hill Blanchot Reader); and writing on art (Gary Hill: Language Willing; with Charles Stein: Tall Ships, HanD HearD/liminal objects, Viewer). Quasha has taught at Stony Brook University (SUNY), Bard College, the New School, and Naropa University.