A DNA test can be routine pleasantries and ceremonial arrangements: Part 3

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.

Lauren Prousky recently curated a group show for Lumen Festival in Waterloo Region that included 1800 points of Contact as well as the works of Behnaz Fatemi, Johanna Thompson, Christie Shen and Jo Sparkes. The show, titled, There’s no u-haul big enough for my move to sky castle, explored repetition through acts of creation and destruction as a metaphor for the continuous work of becoming and individuating. 

The videos (documentation of a repetitive process) and resulting sculptures (what’s left over from the repetitive process) highlight a feeling of futility present in the often unnoticed, yet ongoing labour involved in self-care and self-preservation. These “behind-the-scenes” actions are emblematic of the care and attention needed to affect large-scale social change, however here they manifest as intimate moments of individual transformation for the artist. Using everyday objects like hair, yarn, slinkys, fire and paper, the works in this show express a powerful tenderness and catharsis in their earnest ambition to forge one’s own path.

This concludes Lauren Prousky’s A DNA Test can be routine pleasantries and ceremonial engagements series. To see the first part click here, and for the second, here

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

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