The prayers of well-wishing citizens are sent to Hiroshima in the form of thousands of pounds of colorful origami cranes. In a transmutation from cultural meme to sacred rubbish the totems are classified as “non-burnable” trash. This semantic redefinition of folded paper formalizes a social contract wherein sympathetic gestures eclipse the value of environmental or infrastructure concerns, converting social consideration into a societal burden: an ever-expanding archive of care. Maintained by the state, the trash-chive converts morally beneficent acts into sanctioned eco-terrorism, conflating objecthood with fulfillment of a sympathetic ritual.
Kaabi-Linke’s work explores themes of gender and trauma. Easily overlooked are the small glass plate laser etchings, which subtly reveal scars from victims of domestic violence. At first glance, the plates appear blank. Only at certain angles, do the etched scars become visible, symbolizing how the issue continues to be hidden below society’s surface. Interspersed are plates with single lines from victims’ stories, such as “I look at her and see a rapist.” and “I didn’t realize it was wrong.” Most work about this issue focuses on polemical documentary-style photography, emphasizing awareness, rather than art-aesthetic. Kaabi-Linke’s quiet, powerful work does both.
~ Colette Copeland
images courtesy of the author
ArtPrize* winner Anila Quayyum Agha’s installation Intersections transforms the gallery into a spiritual space for contemplation. Inspired by a trip to the Alhambra Islamic Palace in Spain, the artist uses light to generate intricate reflected patterns covering the walls, ceiling and floor. The exhibition title refers to a point where the East meets the West. Given the current state of religious animosity in the world, Agha’s notion of a non-denominational sacred community seems to be a utopic unreality. Although beautiful and tranquil, the gallery architecture did not offer visitors a means to thoughtfully meditate or pray.
“Future observers will pass judgment exclusively on the basis of the external, corporeal, material appearance of artwork: its meaning, content, and original interpretational framework will be necessarily alien to them.”
“From the perspective of the future archaeologist and flâneur” Gréaud’s anachronistic Museum offers “an eternity of ruins, the relics left behind.” Grandiose in scale and execution “the heroic act… [is] an eternal role model.” Indecipherable texts, mutated nature, thermal sex, and the mimicry of historical monuments are archetypically sanctified, though unknown and thus irrelevant, they are necessarily vandalized.* “The eternity… is not a spiritual one, but a material one.”
~ Ryder Richards
Boris Groys, Art Power “Hitler’s Art Theory” (p134-5)
Photo Credits: Minsk Studio // Courtesy: Loris Gréaud, Gréaudstudio.