A Place for the Affections: dwelling in anguish (torment) and love

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    HLP 1080 OPENING on 27/4/2022 from 18:00 to 21:00.

    A Place for the Affections: dwelling in anguish (torment) and love brings together eight living artists, born in eight countries and four different decades, all grappling with ideas of migration, placemaking, disconnection, individuality, geopolitics, and myth making to explore personal and public conceptions of home. From trite and wide-spread to profound and eccentric, home is a loaded concept packed with a dizzying array of emotions and implications. Formative to the ways we understand ourselves and how we relate to others, it encompasses the places we come from, the spaces we long for, and the ways we connect with the more-than-human world.

    This exhibition develops from a long-running conversation between Harlan Levey and SCAD Museum of Art curator DJ Hellerman about being at home while far from home, of returning home in the knowledge that it’s no longer your home, and the fraught question of whether it is possible to return at all. Through sculpture, video, drawing, painting, performance and installation, the exhibition explores notions of home as a place to hold our affections, as a failed idea, as a tender haunting, and a shared ground for historic events. These concepts wander between security and instability, sovereignty and mythology, torment and love. The exhibition features various forms of social abstraction, utopist deconstruction, mediated realism and a shared rejection of the past as a nostalgic vehicle.

    In many of the works, there are intimate archival elements, from the map in Vivienne Koorland’s painting Pegasus that she used while traveling in South Africa in the early 1960s, the shattered bedroom windows of Marcin Dudek’s installation Head in the Sand, the prison stationary on which James “Yaya” Hough’s drawings are made, the card from TR Ericsson’s mother that he amplifies, Ella Littwitz’s referencing of the sea squill’s biblical history, or Ella de Burca’s crumbling floor-based installation Text for Defiance (Roof Without Walls). Aziz Hazara’s film Rehearsal also illustrates a personal proximate approach, which is both joyful and loaded with torment, while Emmanuel Van der Auwera’s film Home uses publicly shared, found footage of military homecomings as a way to demonstrate the impact of media in our lives and the pressure social media networks apply to perform, rather than to engage with an authentic lived experience.

    As a whole, A Place for the Affections: dwelling in anguish (torment) and love offers post-historical readings of socio-political turmoil in Afghanistan, Ireland, Israel, Poland, South Africa and the United States, which affirms James Baldwin’s suggestion that “perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” At a time when millions of people all over the world are seeking refuge, this condition comes with an urgent need for shelter. Home, whether an idea, emotion or physical structure, involves a place where one may rest. Coupling these notions with the impetus of the exhibition, Maya Angelou’s conception of home offers a fitting conclusion and framework for contextualizing the exhibition, “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”


    Image caption: Aziz Hazara, Rehearsal, 2020, Single channel video, color, sound, 1 min 5 sec

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