Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Monday, April 2, 2018

Back to black: why US artist Taryn Simon is going into mourning

Her latest installation, which brings together professional mourners from 15 different countries, took seven years to create. The artist explains why the work is as risky as it is moving In September 2016, as final preparations were being made for a carefully choreographed ceremony of remembrance at the 9/11 memorial site in downtown Manhattan, another kind of mourning ritual was being orchestrated at the Armory arts centre by artist Taryn Simon. The vast venue occupies an entire block of the island’s Upper East Side, and entering it via a fire escape, visitors found themselves on a balcony overlooking a cavernous space in which 11 tall concrete towers stood in a semicircle. Far below, figures emerged from the semi-darkness and went into the towers, one by one. As the audience proceeded downstairs, the first of several shrill, guttural voices broke the silence in wild-sounding lamentation. Over the next 15 minutes, the space filled with a cacophony of loss: wailing, singing, chanting and keening. The combined force of the outpourings reached a sustained climax then fell away again to a single voice and, eventually, a deep silence worthy of Samuel Beckett. For _An Occupation of Loss_, Simon gathered professional mourners from 15 different countries, including Ghana, Greece, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Burkina Faso. Many came from families in which the art of mourning has been passed through generations. The Greek lamentations have been traced back to ancient times, to the formation of democracy and the state. Yazidi laments are expressions of collective exile, displacement and homesickness. In Borneo, female mourners are said to undertake a perilous journey to the other side and back alongside the soul of the deceased. Continue reading...