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Réciter son corps at Slow Dance, Chicago, IL,
September 10 - Octocber 22, 2023


I am a spider's web of nerves exactly resembling the drawings of the anatomy texts. You say m/y beloved that you can see right through m/e … I am touched in m/y brachial nerves m/y circumflexes m/y ulnars m/y radials m/y terminal branches. –Monique Wittig, Le Corps Lesbien

Abbey Muza’s weavings and intimately scaled text drawings are both rigorously researched inquiries into queer archives and language, as well as deft and intricate compositions where material, image, and concept shift and collapse together. In Muza’s woven textiles, which hang like curtains drawn across unseen thresholds, fragmented images of the artist’s body insert themselves and interrupt the structure of the weave. Pointillist in essence, relying on density of color to give shape to image and pattern, these weavings exist in a state of permanent tension, examining what it means to order and assemble parts (i.e., thread into thread into thread) which are subsumed, instantly, into the larger whole (the woven surface). As Muza builds with thread, they also dismantle a sense of order and a hierarchy of looking, disrupting expectations of legibility in favor of an expansive visual language, unfolding through abstraction. As a touchstone and companion to Muza’s work, the experimental novel “Le Corps Lesbien” (1973) by French feminist theorist Monique Wittig, demonstrates a fragmented and nonlinear approach to language which Muza cites both directly and in essence, through their own work. Wittig’s text hovers between form: a lyrical address to a lover; a manifesto of body and pleasure; an undoing of masculine language, fracturing and reimaging written subjecthood. There is a deliberate incoherence throughout the text that explores language’s ability to break apart and transform ideological structures, embracing fluidity and a sense of productive disorder.

The pink flowers of the heather are visible in the spaces between your bones and all around you. I see the sun shining between your ribs. The sky of an intense blue is also visible in certain intervals of their arrangement.


The narrator of Wittig’s text paints scenes of queer bodies and their desires, in terms both tender and violent. Their lover’s body is dismantled, strewn apart, reassembled. The text speaks to the body’s insides, its bones and arteries, tendons and cavities, laid bare, unspooling like thread. It hovers between form, embracing the pleasures of queerness, ungovernable bodies, treating language as with a similar freedom—and forceful insistence on reimaging how it might operate on and for us; and it is here in which we might, similarly, locate Muza’s practice. Their attention to language, archive, and history of craft, merges with an abiding belief in haptic, sensual exploration of both material and content. Words are explored like soft and tangible matter. This materiality of language—letters woven together like threads—in conversation with Muza’s woven textiles, builds a complex view of bodies and words, aligned with each other as forever coming into being; mutable and expansive, and intensely real.

Excerpt from text by Elizabeth Lalley, curator and director, Slow Dance, Chicago

Exhibition photos by Evan Jenkins, 2023

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