Forever and Ever
A response to On Kawara’s Today series, Forever follows the artist’s spiritual journey through daily readings of the Tanakh, the Tao Te Ching, and the New Testament. Each piece in the series presents a citation on which the artist’s meditation of the passage-cited was concurrent to and memorialized by the creation of the piece. The reference to Kawara’s Today series and the mimicry of its minimalist style are leveraged for their potential to enrich discussion on the project, to invite impartial (if not charitable) engagement with the referents, and to give way to the wisdom within the original texts.
Fortunes from the sages: sayings from the Analects, Dao De Jing, Ecclesiasticus, Euthydemus, Mishlei, Qōheleth, and the Wisdom of Solomon.
Platitudes (400 B.C.-2020) / Inflammatory Maxims
Outerspection led the artist to Jenny Holzer’s Truisms (1978-87) and similar works. Among her adages are “SELF-AWARENESS CAN BE CRIPPLING,” “ANY SURPLUS IS IMMORAL,” and “BEING SURE OF YOURSELF MEANS YOU’RE A FOOL.”
And to the Delphic Maxims, a collection of ancient Greek proverbs inscribed into the walls of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (4th century BC) and authored by its High Priestess, the Pythia. Well known are “KNOW THYSELF,” “NOTHING IN EXCESS,” and “SURETY BRINGS RUIN.”
This installation puts Holzer and the High Priestess in dialogue by presenting the ancient maxims as a work resembling one of the former’s own. The project is a nod to Holzer, who, alongside the Pictures Generation, legitimized pithy statements and appropriation as means of fine art-making, while centering the female ethos as a source of cultural critique. More importantly, it places ancient wisdom under contemporary scrutiny, artistic contemplation, and personal reflection.