Samuel Beckett’s novel Unnamable (1953) ends with three sentences, repeated twice: “You must go on, I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” In a recent New York Times essay, neuroscientist Paul Kalanithi used the last two sentences to poignantly capture the ethos of living with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Working back and through a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer, Chicago artist Deborah Boardman likens the archaic art of dowsing—which uses divination to find underground water or fault lines—to the many diagnostic tests used to determine the presence and spread of cancer in the human body. Prior to the installation, Boardman engaged professional dowsers to “read” the space of Audible Gallery. They determined that one inactive fault line runs beneath the gallery roughly north southwest near the east wall.
Boardman has used the fault line as the basis for arranging an installation that includes painting, sculptural objects and audio recordings whose focus is a selection of her dreams narrated by a number of those who gave help and solace during her recent illness, and accompanied by a musical soundtrack composed by Greg Boardman (the artist’s brother). The dreams are used in combination with the other installation components to convey a range of feeling: rage, fear, weepy gratitude and wonder. The work is a therapeutic negotiation of the experience of a serious (and now commonplace) illness, a disease that brings a stark reminder of mortality, as well as the state of our inescapable interdependency.
Curated by Lou Mallozzi.
Friday, May 15, 6-9PM
Live performance Kip Boardman (LA) around 7:30.
05.16-07.12, Saturdays & Sundays, 1–5pm
or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment
About the artist
Deborah Boardman is a Chicago based painter, installation artist and Adjunct Associate Professor at SAIC. She is a recipient of recent grants from DCASE, the Illinois Arts Council, Indiana Humanities Council, a Faculty Enrichment Grant and an EAGER grant from SAIC and a Propeller grant with the Rhizome Alliance (Rodger Cooley, Kevin Kaempf, Eric May and Akshay Rathore) to present the international symposium on art, food and agriculture, Rooting: Regional Branches, Global Concern. Rooting India just finished a successful run as part of the Kochi Biennial in Kochi, India. Recent exhibitions include Rocket Run at the University of Nebraska, Celebration of the Living Who Remember the Dead, organized by Emilio Fantin and Giancarlo Norese at the Arizona University International Artist Residency and the exhibition The American Dream: The W(H)oly Grail, curated by Tricia Van Eck. She was awarded a residency and stipend at Oxbow in 2014 and at Ragdale in 2015. Her work is in the public collection of the Chicago Cultural Center, and her artist books are in collections of the Bibliothecha Alexandrina, Egypt, Newberry Library’s Wing Collection and at Harvard University’s Houghton Library, MoMA Queens and Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others.