The Talking Cure opens at The Spoleto Festival

The Talking Cure opens at

The Spoleto Festival

Exhibition on view: May 20 -August 5, 2016

Redux Contemporary Art Center, Charleston, SC.


Conceived and produced by New York based visual artist Melissa Stern it includes her collaboration with twenty-four writers, poets, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights and actors. The Talking Cure takes its name from Sigmund Freud’s original description of psychoanalysis.

Stern made twelve sculptures- some of the folks living in her brain made real. She then asked twelve writers- poets, novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights- to each chose a sculpture to which they related most intimately. Each wrote his or her imagined monologue of the goings on in the sculpture’s mind.

The next step in the process was to find twelve actors and have them each record one of the monologues. With minimum direction from Stern, they spoke their interpretations of the written pieces that had in turn been inspired by each sculpture. It’s been like a game of “whisper down the lane” with each participant interpreting what they see or read and giving each next step a little tweak of their own.

The audio recordings were digitally coded and sent up onto the cloud. Each piece was assigned a QR Code digital marker. When you point your smart phone at the code it triggers the audio. And now, by looking, reading and listening to the work, you too will become part of the collaboration.

Melissa Stern has worked in both sculpture and drawing for over twenty years, living and exhibiting in California, Europe, and New York City. Her work is featured in a number of prominent corporate and museum collections including Dow Jones, JP Morgan, The Arkansas Art Center, American Museum of Ceramic Art and the Kohler Corporation, where she was an artist-in-residence. Her artwork was featured in the third World Ceramics Biennale 2005 Invitational exhibition, Icheon, Korea,  Trans- Ceramic Art and 500 Figures in Clay. Her one-of-a-kind book Nightmares has been acquired by the Library of Congress.

With a background in anthropology, Melissa’s work reflects both non-Western and outsider art influences. Her drawings, collages, and figurative sculptures are characterized by their richly drawn and deeply layered surfaces, as well their quirky, often dark humor.

The Talking Cure is a synthesis of Melissa’s interest in words, people and ideas. Collaborating with writers and actors was a great experiment in how people interpret what they see, read and hear. She hopes to embark on another such project very soon.

In addition to making art, Melissa Stern has been writing about art since 2005. She was an art and culture critic and reviewer at The New York Press and CityArts in NYC from 2005 til 20013. In 2014 she joined the staff of Hyperallergic and has been happily writing about whatever strikes her visual fancy. She is also the Art Editor for Posit, an online journal of art and literature.

Since 2012, The Talking Cure has been exhibited at Fetherston Gallery in Seattle WA, Smart Clothes Gallery, in NYC, the Akron Art Museum and Real Art Ways (RAW), Hartford Connecticut’s contemporary art center.  After Redux the project will be a  solo exhibition at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, running from August 2016 to mid 2017.


136 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC 29403


HOURS Tuesday – Friday (10am – 6pm) Saturday (12pm-5pm)