Joy Episalla is an interdisciplinary artist who works in video, photography, and installation. Episalla’s work forces the viewer to confront the intimacy of the everyday, curating encounters with the inherently transitional spaces of memory and ephemeral existence. The featured videos, removed (2000–2022) and Les Psychanalystes et le Marché (2015–2022), have some similarities—both are composed of a montage of three channels and contain strong narrative threads to engage the viewer—but have disparate formal and conceptual qualities.
removed begins with Episalla off screen announcing, “I’m gonna tell you a story about the couch,” as the central channel closely frames her mother reclining on an old velvet couch in muted and somber colors. The sense that this story has a twist becomes apparent when simultaneously, the videos on either side show Episalla carefully removing upholstery fabric and slicing the couch frame into neat cross-sections.
In contrast, Les Psychanalystes et le Marché takes an aerial viewpoint in crisp black and white, showing the disassembling and reassembling of a Parisian market. The viewer’s spatial awareness is confounded as human forms enter and exit the scene from all sides of the frame. Episalla narrates in voiceover, informing the viewer not about the goings-on in the street, but instead recounting the movements of two married psychoanalysts, the inhabitants of the apartment where the camera is staged. Ghostly voices in the background whisper the names of common market items: la courgette, les chaussettes. This multivocal approach collapses the space between apartment and market, creating an intimacy between the two locations.
removed tells a deeply personal story of loss, acceptance, and transformation; Les Psychanalystes et le Marché showcases the more ordinary processes of making and unmaking that we experience without conscious awareness. Both examine the painstaking work of craftsmanship and artistic practice, not the final product. What can we learn when we deconstruct an everyday object? Episalla asks the viewer to carefully observe these daily metamorphoses, accepting change as an inevitable consequence of life.
(De)constructing the Everyday was planned and executed by students in Art History 506, Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice, taught by Associate Professor Anna Campbell, in collaboration with Chazen museum staff.
Art History 506, Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice
Harvey Jaeyun Kim
See the exhibition catalogue and virtual exhibits created by the class.
Allusions in Motion virtual tour
Fragments virtual tour
Living Memory virtual tour