Heart of Darkness
Borrowing its title from Joseph Conrad's 1899 novel about the paternalistic arrogance of imperialism, Heart of Darkness consists of three large-scale environments by artists Kai Althoff, Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne, and Thomas Hirschhorn that address the complex and ever-present conflicts between desire and possession, expansion and domination, power and equality. The exhibition articulates the notion of darkness as a fantastical territory of wonderment and possibly enlightenment. Working with fairy tales, science fiction, printed matter, and archival imagery, the artists invite us to enter uncanny fictitious worlds where their monumental pieces cover a range of references from Freud's studies of marine anatomy to Plato's allegory of the cave. Their propositions, filled with poetry and sometimes humor, visualize a space independent of social conventions and xenophobia in which different experiences of approval, racial and sexual identification, and equality could exist. In contrast to Conrad's narrative, the nonconformist idealism and fervent irrationality of these works propose a quixotic, alternative view of the everyday.
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