Oct 13th 2022

Pious Work of Salvage

@ Weatherproof

3336 W Lawrence Ave, Ste. 303, Chicago, IL, 60625

Opening Thursday, October 13th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Sunday, November 6th

‘Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely an ironic mimetism — victimless collecting, as it were… in a world that is well on its way to becoming one vast quarry, the collector becomes someone engaged in a pious work of salvage. The course of modern history having already sapped the traditions and shattered the living wholes in which precious objects once found their place, the collector may now in good conscience go about excavating the choicer, more emblematic fragments.’

Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977, pp. 75 ‐ 76

The gallery is now a dig site that reveals an ancient Roman mosaic.

A similar thing happened in February during excavation in Southwark, London – a dining room, resplendent with Solomon’s knots, supposedly part of a mansio, a waystation.

Waystation – maybe that’s a better word to ascribe to this space – a crossing point of material record, information, and imagined futures.

We might point toward the etymology of the internet, itself a net, fishing for something.

This crossing point is only available through accumulation – both in its big reveal under the bucket of a digger and in its reformation and presentation as objects in space for this show.

All artists mentioned above participate in this cycle of collection, storage, and reproduction.

The Susan Sontag quote that provides the title to this exhibition comes after a retold Arendt anecdote – that the one thing you could be sure of Walter Benjamin was his “little black notebooks with black covers which he always carried with him and which he tirelessly entered in the form of quotations what daily living and reading netted him in the way of ‘pearls’ and ‘coral.’ On occasion he read from them aloud, showed them around like items from a choice and precious collection.” (Arendt)

This gallery also participates in this cycle of collection, storage, and reproduction.

If this space is being constructed, or in a way, excavated, what roles are taken on by the artists and curators?

Are we the apprentices, doing the good work, caked in dust and digging deep?

Are we the foremen, shouting, trying at control?

I think we are the thieves that break in at night and make things new with what we find.

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