May 15th 2010

Live Forever

@ Concertina Gallery

2351 N Milwaukee Ave, 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60647

Opening Saturday, May 15th, from 7PM - 10PM

On view through Wednesday, May 26th

As Concertina Gallery in its current manifestation has come to an end, we bring together six artists who each take unique approaches to the practice of memorialization.

Dave Dyment’s A Drink to Us (When We’re Both Dead) is a long-term project that addresses the quirks of familial legacy using a one hundred year-old bottle of whiskey. Working with The Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland, Dyment’s edition includes twenty-five wooden caskets housed in linen boxes, a map of the whiskey barrel warehouse, a small diary documenting the process, and a contract to pass on to the buyer’s descendants, who will collect the whiskey in a hundred years’ time. Megan Hildebrandt’s exhibited works similarly suggest the perpetuation of life after death, as she petitions for the sainthood of the artists in Live Forever. Sainthood Now! is comprised of prayer cards with a hand-drawn portrait of each artist; copies of letters Hildebrandt has sent to His Holiness Pope Benedict the XVI, proof that they have been mailed to the Vatican; and cult-following buttons for each participating artist.

Jason Lazarus and Tibi Tibi Neuspiel both explore the stylistic trope of name-based war memorials. In Neuspiel’s installation, he embroiders names from Maya Lin’s Vietnam War Memorial onto multiple pairs of unremarkable gray sweatpants, hinting at the intimacies of the mass uniform in its relationship to the body. Where Neuspiel re-imagines the form of memorials, Lazarus reinterprets their sources in Orion over Baghdad. Appropriating image titles from the Flickr accounts of US soldiers in Iraq and manually developing them as photograms in the darkroom, Lazarus elevates the personal web commentary of soldiers into lasting physical reminders.

Marty Burns uses Concertina’s dining room window-well to create a kitsch-laden outdoor shrine in remembrance of a recently ended relationship. Composed of fake flowers coated in glitter, and punctuated with flickering lights, These stormy seas came between my love and I… testifies to the inefficacy of resisting the deterioration of both human relationships and manmade memorials. In a similar vein, Ruben Nusz’s cast and carved resin cigarettes and ashtrays preserve disregarded objects. In the place of cigarette butts, however, Nusz fills his ashtrays with anonymous cremated remains, charging the ashtrays with more significance than meets the eye.

The desire to live forever is tantalizing, and creating an enduring presence may take myriad forms. Concertina is sad to close its doors, but we are sure that this is not goodbye.

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