whatsherface #13: Knight & Knight - Instructions for a Fight

June 2, 2017


“This style of fighting has nothing to do with combat. This is not a light comparison to make. This looks more like girls fighting at a party or a bar. I wish that people wouldn’t pretend to know what soldiers do and do not do—especially in a war zone.”

—Anonymous soldier based in Afghanistan 


“…The voice of the instructor, his essentialism, his declarations about how "men" and "women" are, about the advanced stage of women's development is so weird. and then that paired with the two of you being instructed by him, egged on by him, makes for a very strange dynamic."

—Anonymous viewer



Instructions for a Fight consists of documentation of a rehearsal Autumn and Chelsea Knight took part in while preparing for a live performance at the New Museum in NYC in 2015. The piece is overlaid with the voice of our male instructor, who elevates our feeling of aggression and violence towards our goal: blurring the line between a real fight and a parallel space of play.


Throughout the piece, what is alluded to but omitted is the boundary between physical and mental safety, which mirrors cultural illusions about both kinds of safe spaces. We are interested in the mimicry and language of violence.




Autumn Knight is an interdisciplinary artist working with performance, installation and text. Her performance work has been in group exhibitions at various institutions including DiverseWorks Artspace, Art League Houston, Project Row Houses, Blaffer Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, Skowhegan Space (NY), The New Museum, The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and Krannart Art Museum (IL). Knight has been in residence with with In-Situ (UK), Galveston Artist Residency, YICA (Yamaguchi, Japan) and Artpace (San Antonio, TX).She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2016) and holds an M.A. in Drama Therapy from New York University. In 2015, Knight was an Artadia awardee. Knight is currently a 2016-2017 artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem (NY).



Chelsea Knight was born in Vermont and lives and works in New York. She received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Knight completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program (2010) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2008), and was a Fulbright Fellow in Italy (2007). Solo exhibitions and performances include: the New Museum (NY), The St. Louis Art Museum (MO); The Brooklyn Museum; Aspect Ratio Gallery (Chicago); Momenta Art (Brooklyn); DiverseWorks (Houston); Night Gallery (LA, with Elise Rasmussen) and Julius Caesar Gallery (Chicago). Knight has exhibited and screened her work in group shows including Nouvelles Vagues at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, with Mark Tribe); Anti-Establishment at Bard CCS Hessel Museum (NY); the Young Artists' Biennial (Bucharest); the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial; Werkschauhalle Gallery (Leipzig); the Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation, (Biella, Italy) and Harvard University. Knight was a 2015 VAN artist resident at Project Row Houses (Houston) and was a Spring 2015 Research and Development Artist in Residence at the New Museum (NYC).


Please reload