Solo Exhibition: Dividing Lines
Le Guern Gallery
Nov. 22, 2019 - Jan. 18, 2020
For more info: www.leguern.com
Why do humans carve the earth into territories they claim to own? By what right? Historic, practical, unreasonable and unethical answers spring to mind, but the question nags. Alicja Gaskon's interest in man-made dividing lines,
the rise of nationalism in so many parts of the world, and in the barriers erected in attempts to control human migration, take the viewer deep into consideration of these questions and issues. She employs beautiful colors and forms as well as unusual materials and processes, all of which entertain the eye and mind as we consider the madness that our supposedly rational systems perpetuate across the globe.
Inspired by her recent trip to the North Korean border, Warsaw-based artist Alicja Gaskon presents ‘Dividing Lines’: a physical and conceptual representation of the most prominent boundaries through history. From North Korea to the Berlin Wall, and more recently, Trump’s wall, Gaskon’s inquiry accentuates the absence of ethical consideration within the rationale of national preservation.
‘Dividing Lines’ at Le Guern Gallery is a reminder of human activity at the perimeter between staunch political divides. These are points of segregation, as much as points of reunion. Drawing parallels with the barriers of the past, Gaskon hints at a possibility for reconciliation at the very threshold of division.
A series of maps on display attest to a beauty contained within standardised uniformity, one that is revealed to those who are committed to locating the humanity in these political spaces. Gaskon’s research and voyages have led her to secluded North Korean villages and hidden city-states along the US-Mexico border. In both, the proximity to the border informed the residents’ understanding of relationships and personal identity.
For each acrylic map, Gaskon forgoes any superfluous detail to draw attention to the barrier as a physical intrusion. On the immediate right, an aerial view of the Berlin Wall rendered on a life-size canvas is reduced to an outline of surrounding buildings and streets.
To its left, two small metal installations of equal proportion to the North Korean and the US-Mexico borders, rest in display cases before their sketched representations. On their way to the gallery in Warsaw, these were taken apart at US customs for inspection, later glued back together in an unintentional yet accurate performance of the self-containing nation.
Further on, ‘The Unbroken Line’ (2019), a replication of the metal fence at the North Korean border, is displayed... read more