Thursday, October 14, 2010
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Notes To Nonself, currently on view at Herron Galleries in Indianapolis, is an incredible journey through the passageways of self-hood by artists Diane Christiansen and Soshanna Utchenik, both originally from Chicago. They aptly describe the exhibition, which was first installed at Chicago's Hyde Park Art Center, as a "metaphoric landscape for the activity of the mind." The exhibition's immersive environment is composed of an ego forest rife with clouds, an octopus of attachment, a campsite that cannot be entered, a meditation center/clubhouse that visitors may utilize, a video installation, and strings of prayer flags to which viewers are invited to add their own flags containing positive intentions. "The areas are things you get hooked on, things your mind gets hooked on and obsesses on," Christiansen explains. The octopus, for example, represents attachment: relational, body image, and attachment to youth. Each tree in the ego forest represents a false duality such as isolation/connection and sloth/activity.
Notes To Nonself is a decidedly quirky exercise in exploring human truths, relationships, and ideas of self and ego. Navigating through the exhibition necessitates some level of interaction with all of its different parts; this is not a series of flat works on walls or 3D works on pedestals but a complete environment that must be grappled with. It is deeply personal, yet the artists have succeeded in making a personal statement that forces viewers to have their own reckonings about ego, self-hood and the human experience.
For more words, images, and a video interview with the artists, head to OUTPOSTS FROM THE MATERIAL WORLD