World as Lover, World as Self
The exhibition is split into several chapters that, at times, coalesce. As a format we see the exhibition’s crossing over as similar to the crossfade in film or in music. The artworks will intermingle, creating entangled relationships and networks of associations. In October 2020, we open with Chapter 1: Magali Reus (more information to come).
The title World as Lover, World as Self is borrowed from environmental philosopher Joanna Macy, who writes:
Now it can dawn on us: we are our world knowing itself. We can relinquish our separateness. We can come home again—and participate in our world in a richer, more responsible and poignantly beautiful way than before, in our infancy. Because of the journey, we undertook to distance ourselves from our world; it is no longer undifferenced from us. It can appear to us now both as self and as lover. Relating to our world with the full measure of our being, we partake of the qualities of both (World as Lover, World as Self, 2007, Parallex Press)
The exhibition World As Lover World As Self is inspired by Joanna Macy and turns to contemporary art to help us to “relinquish our separateness” and take account of the “residue” of the world that we knew at the beginning of 2020. With artists, Magali Reus, Harm van den Dorpel, Geo Wyeth and friends, we will do this through the concept of defamiliarization as a means to “turn the familiar strange” to redefine the self and our subsequent community. Defamiliarization, or aesthetic distance, is a literary and artistic technique coined by Russian Formalists during the outbreak of the Spanish Flu. According to the formalists, the technique uses language in a way that ordinary objects are made to be reconsidered, that what is in front of us might surpass our assumptive narratives. It is a process of transformation through language to change perception. It is urgent. How can bodies, technologies and modes be taken outside of predefined cultural presumptions in order to de-categorise. To shape shift, to morph, to glimmer, to shimmer. We estrange, not to create a ‘foreign’ or ‘other’ but to radically rethink community, to engage with the World as Lover, and as Self.