Agathe Snow, Community at Large, 2018. Wood frame of wheels, newspaper, fiberglass, white and black enamel paint, metal bars. Images courtesy of the artist.

Born in France, Agathe Snow grew up in the Lower East Side, steeped in its underground art scene, and developed a multi-faceted practice that includes sculpture, installation, painting, live events and writing. Exploring the strengths and limits of life in community has consistently been at the forefront of her creations, which often possess a subversive edge. 

Agathe Snow’s work has been featured in numerous venues, including the New Museum, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

This essay is part of “Bliss,” an online exhibition that asks a group of artists to tell their viewers what bliss, or its loss, means to them through their art and words. Curated by art advisor and AWT columnist Yassana Croizat-Glazer, the show, on display now through January 15, 2022, opens a discussion of how supreme happiness is defined by different people in turbulent times.

Just to be sure and absolutely certain 

By Agathe Snow 

I have clear memories of myself as a child counting the voices in my head and trying to shut them down one at a time.
an innocent and untrained meditation, one I would further manage to use to quiet down the many loud noises around me  
Ease into mayhem, cajoled by chaos
I have never really ever wanted peace or quiet.
I liked it always best where crowds met and people bumped into one another.
On my first walk through the streets of NYC at age 11 when I did not know any English but for the word “sorry”; I would bump into strangers on purpose only to share the full extent of my English vocabulary and find myself deeper and deeper in the crowd, among the action, where all is in play and wild.
There is order in all things and I seem to be better equipped to find peace in mayhem.
I’ve had Moments so loud on the course of my life, 
moments where I would have to do no work to quiet things down, 
moments that take you by surprise, shake you and throw you back on your timeline at the same spot where it all started,
UFO abduction type thing
Situations in nature as in White Sands National Park
or in the presence of great art as I have been in The Rothko Chapel 
or again in Donald Judd’s Foundation in Marfa, Texas with the wild antelopes bumping in the museum glass walls outside and me walking the space made in between the lines of waist high, tomb-like, silver sculptures shining in the desert sun 
where time stops, 
all the elements fit  
when all makes sense,  
it gives reason to the insane 
How could I define these moments?
A feeling?
the smell of a feeling?an atmospheric incongruence.
A cape of invincibility?
A passing
A fast-moving capping of fears, insecurities, feelings, passions, 

I’d dare call these Moments of deep Joy, 
But then I would find the world where only a few hours prior all seemed normal, colors and people and noises now all seem so out of place, and I, out of sorts.
asking myself how could i have possibly moved around freely in such a world?
Bliss should not leave you wanting
Bliss should not leave you feeling alone
Bliss should not leave you thinking that only in accessing these extraordinary moments would you be made whole again.

No bliss is the place where 
I close my eyes and get back to the coping mechanisms of my youth.
it is where I find Me and no one can get to me.
It all started on a day in the springtime of 1991, I am fifteen, cutting class with Yassana we head downtown to St Mark’s place and further east down 8th street walking across avenues in the alphabet, one step after the other, one shop after the other I am entranced      
there was a place where all seemed right 
A real connection to all around you, all still, all moving, belonging, absolute trust that all elements are at play and you are part of a grand scheme and all is aiming towards its right outcome.
That feeling I never lost. 
As soon as I could I moved down there and there I found my tribe.
NYC brought me so much more joy 
I have always thought myself lucky, fulfilled at so many levels.
I think in finding downtown NYC, I found a true shortcut, a secret passage way to a true state of pure contentment
I jumped in with both feet and never looked back
An absolute trust in all.
That all is on the right track and you are riding the right ship, you can get in and out at any time and nothing you do will change the course of things as they were meant to be.
And it is hard to take apart such a fine balance and decipher where true joy stands.
and where one’s ambitions and energy begins.
It is hard to even decipher where you begin and the city ends when you are one with it.
and Never lose sight of the others.
never for a moment wondering who may think what, whose space is mine and where yours start.
a true community of strangers, best friends at once, even if you never ever see that person ever again.
It is natural to give back in a place like NYC and when you cannot anymore you simply move out of the way and make room for the next group of hungry believers