July 7, 5:30-7:30pm
and artist talk:
July 29th, 4-6pm
Drawing and Other Destructive Acts presents a suite of mixed-media works by Tim Svenonius that explore a kinship between inquiry and destruction.
In 2011, the artist began unbinding books to embed the loose pages in mixed-media works, playing with the idea of subtext. The unbinding became a crucial part of his process, taking on a ritual aspect. While the act of destroying a book inevitably suggests darker historic connotations, the unbinding in effect multiplies the object--from one book many works can be born. It can also be likened to dissection, a generative-destructive act that destroys the very thing it seeks to illuminate. In Drawing and Other Destructive Acts, dissection serves as a central metaphor for the pursuits of understanding that come at a a perilous cost.
The notion that human understanding carries a terrible toll is perhaps best known from the myth of Prometheus, but the tale has countless parallels throughout the world. Mary Shelley evokes the myth obliquely in Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (1818), which posits questions about the perils of seeking knowledge.
Shelley’s novel is among the books whose pages appear in Destructive Acts. Each of the novel’s two protagonists effectively defines himself through the books he embraces. The title character, a zealous and self-absorbed student of science, is enthralled with the alchemists Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus, even after he understands them to be widely discredited. The creature, a tabula rasa upon entering the world, steeps himself in Milton, Goethe and Plutarch, which become his only models for comprehending human nature, conceptions which propel him inexorably toward his own fate.