WHAT THE HAND, DARE SEIZE THE FIRE?
Exhibition from February 22nd until April 1st
side effects gallery
241 Taaffe Pl. #201
all photos by Mekko Harjo
I am Trying to Speak your Language, baking sheets, 2012 & 2014
East Side,12 x 16in, 2013
Mother’s Dress/Dead Leaves, 8 x 10in, 2014
Sara Cwynar, Green Shrine, Digital C-print, 16 x 20in, 2013
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
text by Kari Cwynar
Fire, he said, is a privileged phenomenon that can be used to explain anything.
No. It’s not about fire. It’s control, and the acute awareness when one has lost or gained it.
It’s suffocating in the heat, writing letters one reads without coming up for air because you can’t:
Rage is a gathering that collects nothing. That swollen redness around an unhealing cut, not the infection or the pus, but that throbbing heat that threatens to spread, and it carries you on.
There’s Blake’s driving rhythm, the ceaseless repetition again suggests an urgency.
“What the hand dare seize the fire?” The hand as the maker.
The moon’s an arrant thief / And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
Nabokov pulls from Shakespare, snatching from fire, her fire. He, too, using this metaphor for creation. These questions of agency as though, in flames, one still puts reason over passion.
Five artists together creating a rhythm.
Quiet movement between the shrine, the flag, the rock, the pan, the poem and the pole.
Burning burning burning burning. That irreversible forward thrust.
A slow burn.
Virility or a gentle, spreading warmth? Both imply a change in tone and temperature.
In the front seat of a cold van listening to the radio report a fatal fire. Its trapped inhabitants.
“No, no, no, no.”
How, then, to describe burning and aftermath, to wield the metaphor.
We could talk about passion. Loss of control. Until: Calm Down.
Cloth on the forehead, tin can on the nape of the neck.
The mythologized artist now the mossy, moldy rocks of forgotten cave sculptures.
First the heat, then the hardness; a new permanence. Petrification as protection?
The moment in which one’s shield becomes one’s constraint and it must be shed.
I am nourished and burnt.
Burnt and nourished.
And now? Everyone is looking backwards.
We’ve been doing a thousand things and there have been one hundred moments that have passed and gone some of them were good and most of them were forgotten and that’s the most important of all, I suppose most of them were forgotten just beginning things that passed.
What persists? What the hand dare seize: burnt pan, candle wax, fabric scrap.
Seize the remains, re-visit and re-write.
Works composed of domestic detritus, now -
Subjects and objects born from ashes.
The shrine? An homage in soft focus. A condition of passion. Anyone can make one, with the hand. The burning candle means transience.
The red flag, a warning sign and a soft painting.
A crumbling ash-grey paper pole, held with tape, bearing a false front of stability.
Gaston Bachelard in The Psychoanalysis of Fire, 1938 Evan Calder Williams, Roman Letters, 2011 William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, 1623 T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922 Suely Rolnik, “Deleuze, Schizoanalyst”, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/deleuze-schizoanalyst/ Lisa Robertson, The Men, 2006 Jean Shepherd, “Channel Cat in the Middle Distance”, 1960 (transcription of a recording)
all photos by Mekko Harjo