Meredith Rosen Gallery is pleased to present Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, a site-specific exhibition of new work by Charlemagne Palestine. Like the spell that transformed the forgotten stepsister, Cinderella, from her forsaken circumstances into a princess, Bibbidi-Bobbodi-Do metamorphoses the gallery space into an immersive installation encompassing wall-based stuffed animal toy sculptures, video works, and a multi-mixed sound environment.

Originally beginning as a sound, performance, and video artist associated with the music, performance, dance, and conceptual art scene of the 1960-70s New York avant-garde, Charlemagne Palestine’s diverse practice engages ritualistic process to produce expansive installations, using stuffed animal children’s toys which he calls "divinities." Palestine often uses the teddy bear, invented by an immigrant couple from Brooklyn in 1902 near where the artist was born.

His early sound installations were created on electronic music synthesizers and incorporated chanting, carillon bells, organs, and pianos to induce a trance-like sonic state in live performances and as accompaniments to his later elaborate multi-media installations, interacting with the architecture, acoustics, and atmospheres of a diverse array of spaces including warehouses; galleries; museums and sacred buildings.

This activation of space (and the living beings and inanimate objects that occupy them) creates an interactive performative community in constant transformation and visceral dialogue. Similar to the magic cast upon Cinderella’s pumpkin into a white carriage and mice into horses—Charlemagne’s works create a magic carnival presence that transforms the ordinary into an open sacred universe through the practice and mediums of art.

Palestine often references Karl Trahndorff’s early 19th-century concept of gesamtkunstwerk, or “total work of art” as a framework to question the possibilities of any medium or language he employs. In Bibbidi-Bobbodi-Boo the metaphor of casting spells is another encompassing layer in which Palestine avoids existing conventions and relates art and exhibition space to a magical indefinable realm of his invention, elevating children’s toy stuffed animals, everyday objects, sound, and images into a vibrational dialogue.

Bibbidi-Bobbodi-Boo also includes early video works, newly enhanced, filmed by the artist at Coney Island in the mid-1970s which depict the haunting memory of a New York amusement park from “once upon a time” as a site of fantasy, where patrons crowd into rollercoaster cars and suspend themselves to a moment of collective joy and fear. At the center of Palestine’s work, is a thread of belief, discovered in a child’s relationship to a stuffed animal “divinity;” cultivated through spiritual chant, gesture, and dreaming. As mysterious as the fairy godmother’s spell, this belief binds us to a web of magic both sinister and hopeful, but most pressingly, to each other.

Charlemagne Palestine (b. 1947 Brooklyn, New York) has participated in exhibitions and performances at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; MoMA PS1, Queens, New York; Louvre, Paris; Venice Biennale; Documenta, Kassel; Moderna Museet Stockholm; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Triennale di Milano, Italy; Kunsthalle, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Jewish Museum, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Castello di Rivoli Museo, Torino; Fondation Serralves, Porto Portugal; SESC São Paulo Brazil; Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal; BOZAR, Brussels Belgium; MHKA Antwerp, Belgium; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Villa Arson, Nice; KW, Berlin; among many others.

Palestine studied at the High School of Music and Art, New York; New School for Social Research New York; New York University; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; Mannes College of Music, New York; and California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. This is Charlemagne Palestine’s first exhibition at the Meredith Rosen Gallery.