Cate GIORDANO: The Final Wife

9 October - 6 November 2021 Paris / Main space, Paris / Front space

The Galerie Christophe Gaillard is pleased to organize the first solo exhibition of Cate Giordano in France. Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Cate Giordano (1986) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. After a one month’s residency in Le Tremblay (Orne, France), the artist created an immersive environment with two large installations that occupy the entire gallery space : The Final Wife (2021, main space) and ROME (2018-2021, front space).

Mainspace: The Final Wife

The Final Wife is a multimedia installation loosely based on the 1993 Waco Siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, a religious sect in Waco, Texas. This ongoing project offers fictionalized representations of Branch Davidians leader David Koresh that include negotiations with the FBI, passages from The Book of Revelation and the Old Testament, and fantasies between Koresh and then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

In The Final Wife, David believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. After his behavior catches the attention of federal law enforcement, he finds himself, his followers, his numerous wives, and children embattled in an armed stand-off with the FBI. David engages in cat-and-mouse negotiations with a FBI agent named Steve, prolonging the stand-off for weeks on end. Convinced that his final wife must be Attorney General Janet Reno, David begins to meet with her in dreams and the two develop a dialogue about the overlapping nature of government and faith.
In accordance with David’s plan, they fall in love, which sets off the apocalypse. Giordano plays the parts of both FBI Agent Steve and David Koresh. Julianna Schley performs as Janet Reno.

The Final Wife uses a fictionalized version of a tragic event to explore ideas of control and coercion. While David finds Biblical justification for his delusions, Janet fervently believes in the righteousness of government in any situation. The work is an investigation of two hierarchical structures of power and what happens when these ideologies collide.

Frontspace: ROME

The front space features sculptures and slide projections based on ancient Rome and early Christian iconographies. Building on a project that initially occurred in 2018 at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York City, ROME uses a veneer of theatrical antiquity to explore themes of masculinity and power, juxtaposing confrontational intimacy with cardboard imperium.

Cate Giordano is a filmmaker, sculptor, and performer. Their* work has been exhibited at Postmasters Gallery, Microscope Gallery, Spectacle Theater, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, Spring Break Art Show, and others. In 2018, their installation After the fire is gone was acquired by the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami. Writing about their work has been published in The New York times, Artnet news, The Believer, BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, and San Francisco Art Quarterly. They received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 2008 and were a Smack Mellon Artist Studio Program recipient in 2016-2017 as well as a resident at Onassis AiR in Athens in 2019.

* THEY : Pronoun used to refer to a person of unspecified gender.