This exhibition seeks to tackle and analyze contemporary anxieties surrounding death and the idea of memory. The question of identity comes into play once we begin to understand why and how we, as a society, are attempting to create content and justify our existence in the present. How is this all leading into society’s various attempts to curate our own memorialization long after we are dead?
The ritual of mourning is an ever-changing, ever-evolving concept in Western society. As we move faster towards an uncertain and hyper-accelerated future, as a collective we're frequently rediscovering and reconfiguring our fascination with mortality and memory. How will we be remembered when we die and is the end truely near? Questions like these are typically met with few answers. The Victorians revelled in the aftercare of death; they celebrated it with morbid fanfare and idolization of the deceased, later the post-war mentality saw to a collective belief in the West's preconceived notion of monetary immortality but in 2017 a safe and stable future is no longer promised - we often find ourselves questioning our roles in the future at large. My tether is clipped, seeks to understand contemporary rituals of remembrance and understand how they are represented through the works of three international artists working within the confines of video and sculpture.
Yasmin Alt (*b. Bad Schwalbach DE, 1978) approaches her sculptures with a playfulness that borrows heavily from elements of traditional construction design. Alt’s practice involves the breaking down, modification and personal reinterpretation of the skeletons of architectural structures in order to extract the objectivity of their accepted functionality. By doing so, she allows the viewer to question their initial ideas of what is “useful” architecture. In the small-scale work TOMB (2013) Alt examines the physical importance and reconfiguration of the contemporary and traditional identity of a tomb, something that in history was often executed in grand fashion, in both its size and religious significance.
Zachary Fabri (*b. 1977, Miami, USA) Fabri’s work deals heavily with his personal experiences within his surrounding environment and community, as he does in Forget me not, as my tether is clipped (2012) Fabri makes a failed attempt to fly with his newfound accessories. He is lost inside this mass of balloons, struggling to make use of them and their potential, looking for a way to take on their lighter than air characteristics, in an ultimate failure. What had once to promised levity, buoyancy, and a new perspective, is a now a clump of plastic balloons clouding his sight, pushing his head back and forth, subject to the whim of the wind. The text states that the video represents the “artist’s relationship to history, the ideologies and beliefs that define him and his transformation as he gains experience and knowledge.” As the artist literally tethers himself to these elements, they simultaneously hold him up, while weighing him down.
Ben Harle (*b. 1989, Des Moine, USA) is an American artist working within the frame of ceramic processes, in which he undertakes hi a cyclical manner, rather than as a means to an end. I create objects, things, videos, and installations that explore the complexities of death. I think about clay as if it were a memory: shifting, fading, and changing constantly. Firing a ceramic object freezes it in time and allows the material to last forever. The physical substance can never return to its original state although the artifact may shatter or break. The monument, grave, tomb, and urn are objects / spaces we utilize to replace or store our physical bodies once we pass. Harle works with clay as a vehicle for memorializing, emphasizing its close relationship to permanency and transformation.
Elana Katz (*b. New York USA) Katz is a conceptual artist working primarily in the medium of performance art. Katz’s work confronts cultural conventions, critically examines the complexity that lies within contradictions, and thus aims to create an experience of unlearning the assumed. In 2013, Katz worked with a collection of gravestones that she found discarded in a Berlin cemetery garbage. The stones are from an area of the cemetery dedicated to “victims” from the World War II period: the men and women were German soldiers, police officers, air force officers, SS personnel, prisoners of war, and civilians. Katz took the stones with the intention of creating a series of artworks with them; these stones personalize The German of the Nazi period, a figure that, in the artist’s social conditioning as an American and particularly as a Jew, has been highly dehumanized. Katz confronts and works with these stones that name the nameless enemy. Unnamed thus pertains to the humanization of the demonized, as well as the topics of concealment, protection, erasure, and memory.