In this performance series, I wouldn't know any other way, artist Gyun Hur stays present for seven days with her installation in Death Becomes Her, deconstructing silk flowers and placing them on the existing work, and physically placing herself on a photograph of her as a young child in her grandmother's garden. Through gestures of repetition, Hur meditates on loss, trauma, assimilation, and redemption. In many ways, she is recreating her childhood play in her grandmother's garden in Waegwan, South Korea. Until the age of four—when her grandmother sold the house and land to move to the city—Hur would play in the garden creating "meals" from the flowers, stones and leaves. Once the garden was left untended and the caring stopped, it began to lose its vitality until it disappeared entirely.
The memory of this garden is one of joy but it also harbors a sense of impermanence that is embedded in the artist's personal and historical memories as a member of the Asian diaspora. Hur's actions mimic the tending of a garden, which in turn relates to the tending of ourselves in life and death. This thoughtful performance series will slowly change her work throughout the run of the exhibition, questioning how we tend to memories. What does it mean to continue to remember and cherish the inner thoughts and memories that anchor us?
Death Becomes Her is a group exhibition on view at BRIC in the Main Gallery, co-curated and in partnership with The Green-Wood Cemetery. The exhibition features ten artists—Mimi Bai, Kim Brandt, Nona Faustine, Rachel Grobstein, Gyun Hur, McKendree Key*, Heidi Lau, Catalina Ouyang, Freya Powell*, and Keisha Scarville—exploring how death and the grieving process impact the living.
These ten female-identifying artists examine loss as a catalyst for self-discovery, its cultural and social associations, and the politics of death and dying. They are inspired by personal traumas, ancient myths, and historic injustices. Through their use of objects and tropes commonly associated with death (such as gravestones, flowers, and shrouds), the artists also expand the visual rhetoric of how the departed are remembered.
The centerpiece of this collaboration is an unusual activation of BRIC’s Main Gallery. The typically open-air space will be transformed into a tomb-like environment with atmospheric lighting and an intimate enclosure intended to facilitate a deeper engagement with the audience. The works on view are introspective and deeply personal, drawing our attention to the universally inevitable concept of death.
*Death Becomes Her will be accompanied by a series of public programs that, like the exhibition, encourage unconventional conversation and personal inquiry around death. Two of the featured artists, McKendree Key and Freya Powell, will present performance art pieces at Green-Wood in lieu of exhibiting work at BRIC. 5 x 10 @ The Catacombs is a special edition of McKendree Key's ongoing performance project that will present three intimate gatherings in the Catacombs of Green-Wood, bringing strangers together in an artist-led discussion about death, dying, and the hereafter. Freya Powell’s immersive performance project, Only Remains Remain, draws from the Greek tragedy Antigone to create an elegy for the hundreds of unidentified migrants buried in mass graves in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Brooks County, Texas.
For more information on tours of this exhibition for school groups, please visit our BRIC House Tours page.
ABOUT THE GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY
Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood was one of the first rural cemeteries in America. Spread across 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, the Cemetery boasts one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. Throughout the year, visitors are welcomed to explore Green-Wood through art installations, concerts, book readings, outdoor film screenings, death education programs, and tours.
The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators.
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Death Becomes HerFeb 20, 2020 • 11:00 AM - Apr 19, 2020 • 5:00 PM
Gallery at BRIC House