Now open at MetaLES is Selavy Oh's bury your fears – bury your dreams, one of three interdependent elements comprising a broader work by the artist, the other two components being a real life series of "interventions" at various German graveyards staged between 2014 and 2016, and a book (published through Blurb and available either in a hardcover edition or a pdf (click here to see a preview, including a complete set of images)), subtitled "the tombstone project," that documents the interventions.
Cemeteries are culturally fascinating places of reflection in which people honor the dead, recollect memories and emotions, find themselves fascinated by history, mourn for those who have passed, and express regret for what wasn't said. In Selavy's real life interventions, a visually distinctive bright white stone is positioned on or near a grave site, photographed, and published with accompanying texts — for example, any given photo might be captioned "for the turbidity in my dreams," "for the secret left untold," "for the void behind the mirror," or any of several other short phrases. The artist refrains from providing much context — are the captions meant as expressions of regret or remorse? Are they being expressed by the artist, or by those whose remains are buried under the stones?
In the MetaLES exhibition, the artist has constructed an entire field of headstones: the stark white markers rest on the ground, slightly tilted this way and that, while letters spelling out "bury your fears" and "bury your dreams" form and disappear in the air overhead. Over time, the stones begin to ascend into the sky (view from below, second image), while large dark spheres (black flakes, Selavy calls them) languidly descend from above into the earth and sea. Although the stones are generally blank, it's possible to click on them (at the right moment) to briefly show some text (image above, where one says "for the uncertainty I felt" and another says "for the trust I put in you"). As the stones prepare to climb into the sky, their physics state changes, and it's possible to bump into the them and knock them about or over (or even take a ride on one). Bury your fears – bury your dreams will continue on display through August 8; the MetaLES 7th Anniversary exhibition, featuring photography by Anita Witt (read here) continues overhead.