“Black Feast” at Simon Lee Gallery, New York
Simon Lee Gallery New York is pleased to present “Black Feast”, an exhibition of works that emerge from experiences of anxiety, protest and trauma, both direct and mediated. Through a wide range of voices, the exhibition will explore parallels between disparate communities and their relationships to personal and collective trauma. The works within “Black Feast” showcase how an individual’s subjectivity is shaped not only in times of palpable crisis, but also amidst the unseeing violence of passive complacency. Either arising in explicit reaction or illustrative of psychological unrest, an artist’s work can carry a collective sense of emergency.
The lynch fragments of Melvin Edwards and the concrete / metallic sculptures of Justin Matherly and Matias Faldbakken contain the illustrative semiology of trauma. These brutal assemblages carry with them narratives of disquiet and are at once both very specific and wide-ranging. In contrast to the abstract sculptures of Edwards, Matherly and Faldbakken, Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer each present work that showcase forms of protest and dissent. Kruger’s self-referential piece portrays a growling leopard with a cynical verse decrying the repetitive nature of working within the art world. Holzer shares a work from her Truisim series, however this piece is especially unique as she has translated her famous series into Spanish. Lastly, Darja Bajagić and Robert Gober present documented
tragedies. Gober presents two newspaper works that reflect on the persecution of homosexuals and Bajagi a piece from a series where she collaborated with an inmate in federal prison.
The title of the exhibition derives from the story Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan, which reflects on the life and execution of Marie Rose Boulos during the Lebanese Civil War. It is at the story’s end following Boulos’s death that Adnan writes “an execution is always a celebration. It is the dance of Signs and their stabilization in Death. It is the swift flight of silence without pardon. It is the explosion of absolute darkness among us. What can one do in this Black Feast but dance?”
Participating artists: Darja Bajagić, Melvin Edwards, Matias Faldbakken, Robert Gober, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Justin Matherly
at Simon Lee Gallery, New York
until 22 April 2017