A DNA test can be routine pleasantries or ceremonial engagements: Part 2

Growing up, we had a family joke about the fairly common experience of opening up a cupboard and finding mom’s overflow stash of things like Kleenex, beans or toothpaste that no longer fit in the kitchen or bathroom. We’d darkly refer to it as her Holocaust syndrome, implying that her need to stockpile, to be prepared, was inherited from her mother, a hidden child survivor.

The following body of work is situated at the intersection of coming across 10 cans of crushed tomatoes in the bathroom while looking for toilet paper and the impulse to hold close and care deeply for items and people that have been historically taken away. Using found objects and creating work that uses or depicts an accumulation of materials, I reflect on a particularly Jewish collecting impulse that inspires a culturally specific method of storytelling. Each work is informed by the organized chaos of collections and the aesthetics of tangential narratives, restlessness and layering in order to express my own relationship with various facets of cultural Judaism.

A Heavy Portal  was supposed to be shown at a group show in Toronto in March, however that was postponed/cancelled because of the pandemic. I emailed some art spaces around Kitchener-Waterloo asking if I could come in during off hours to photograph a project and was understandably denied access. I decided to assemble the sculpture in my backyard to get my documentation, which ultimately turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The resulting images became a project in themselves, as the juxtaposition of vibrant fabrics and the dead March domestic landscape of my backyard came together to simultaneously depict a resourcefulness and playfulness that speaks to the intents of the original project.

This is the second part of Lauren Prousky’s A DNA test can be routine pleasantries or ceremonial engagements series. To see the first part click here, and for the third, here

Header image design by Orly Zebak. Artwork by Lauren Prousky.

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