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This spring, the Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York MA in Contemporary Art curatorial course will be mounting a series of exhibitions at our campus in midtown Manhattan. You’re invited to the opening receptions for our student-curated exhibitions. Learn more about the exhibition series.

CANT LET GO — On view April 18-23, 2018

Sotheby’s Institute of Art is pleased to present CANT LET GO, Sivan Dayan’s solo exhibition, curated by Master of Contemporary Art candidate Aya Goshen.

CANT LET GO presents Sivan Dayan’s multidisciplinary study of glass as both a material and a metaphor. The exhibition incorporates performance, a site-specific installation, video, drawing, and painting. Glass is a rigid and solid substance of great inherent strength, yet very fragile. There isn’t flexibility or forgiveness for an artist that chooses to work with this material, as once cracked it is doomed to break. Striving to reveal its true nature, Dayan obsessively experiments with the materiality and the concept of glass. By interacting, observing, reconstructing and decontextualizing, she embeds glass with personal meaning.

Glass is a binary material with only two possible states, either unbroken and useful or shattered and useless. When intact, its clarity projects a sense of integrity and purity, while its impenetrability promotes a sense of protection. However, it takes no more than a split second to crack this facade of solidness and splinter the useful glass into a useless pile of bits and pieces. In her performance, video works, and site-specific installation, Dayan deploys this tension, emphasizing the unbearable lightness of shifting between those two very different modes.

Freud argued that humans have a "death drive" toward self-destruction. Dayan uses Freud’s idea to activate her viewers, when she exposes them, both physically and mentally, to the potential danger embedded in her works. The brutal act of intentionally smashing sheets of glass suggests a violent destruction, akin to the hazardous condition of sharp bits of material, which are the outcome of that action.

In Dayan’s drawings, she observes the outcome of her former actions. She concentrates on a single piece of shredded glass, giving it her full attention, observing and recalling it’s shape and form onto a paper while emphasizing its aesthetic qualities. By doing so, she promotes this single useless piece into a higher rank. Further more, she is distancing the object from the act of impulse that created it. While the drawings are minimal and realistic, her oil paintings shift more freely. In her paintings, she reconstructs and recontextualizes those familiar shreds, camouflaging them in colorful imaginary environments. It may be her attempt to shake them off, but like the title of this exhibition suggests, she lacks the ability to let go.

Exhibitions are free and open to the public upon preliminary registration from 10 AM to 5 PM. RSVP to