TR Ericsson, Industrial Poems (Poèmes Industriels), Harlan Levey Projects

46 Rue Jean d’Ardenne Straat, Brussels
6 September – 3 November, 2018

Forming part of ‘Crackle & Drag’, an umbrella rubric for the artist’s practice since 2003, Industrial Poems is a searingly poignant and deeply personal visual narrative of love, intimacy and loss within one family from America’s post-Industrial midwest. In 2003, the artist’s mother committed suicide by means of acute intoxication. She had overdosed on her anti-depressant, a medication she had routinely taken for many years as she batted the vagaries of the mental and emotional turmoil that enveloped her.

As an effort to seek answers and derive meaning from the loss he experienced, Ericsson mines an extensive family archive for source materials for his works. Oscillating between a wistful nostalgia and a stark emotional frankness, Ericsson offers up an elegy to his mother’s struggles and his own role within a larger narrative context. The works exist in a general way as poetic vessels of in memoriam sadness, but they also codify the artist’s various emotional reactions to the loss, sifting through context and meaning to inventory her accoutrements and effects. In so doing, Ericsson perhaps searches for the evidence that might have better betrayed his mother’s intention, but also empties these remnants of her life of their banality, instead imbuing this new relic-archive with a commemorative meaning.

In several of the works, muslin supports show silkscreened images blended in part with his mother’s funerary ash, variously depicting her school class photograph, the scattered vinyl records of her suicide soundtrack as found on the floor of her home, the telephone bill evincing the obsessive frequency of her calls (35 times in fourteen days). In another a photographic still life vignette of a side table becomes a matter-of-fact memento mori, rather than the theatrical grand gesture vanitas so beloved of art history. Other more sculptural works array his mother’s things in vacuum formed polystyrene (styrofoam), or symbolically depict the profound influence Kierkegaard has exerted on his ideas. References and visual quotations abound – it is through the individual works and their highly charged personal meanings that Susan Robinson (for that was her name) is memorialised and honoured, but it is through the totality of the exhibition and of ‘Crackle & Drag’ more generally that their shared story is conjured into a transcendent requiem.

On view until November 3rd 2018

About Harlan Levey Projects
Harlan Levey Projects was established in 2011 as a project space, which collaborated with artists, curators, galleries and governmental associations. Today, the gallery works closely with innovative emerging and mid-career artists, facilitating exhibitions, educational programming and artist driven services. In 2017, the gallery was awarded the Discovery Prize at Art Brussels. Outside of the gallery, Mr. Levey works as a lecturer at The Higher Institute for Fine Arts (Ghent), the Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht) and an external expert for the European Commission.

Gallery website

About TR Ericsson
TR Ericsson (b. 1972, US) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York for over 20 years. He uses the story of his mother to present a searing, soft, and complex portrait of post-industrial life in America. Ericsson constructs his work using traditional art materials such as canvas, bronze, photography, and clay as well as video, found objects, and artifacts taken from his family archives. “Crackle & Drag”, Ericsson’s ongoing project, started during the years following his mother’s suicide in 2003. It begins as an intimate encounter with an artist’s family archive and becomes a potent opportunity to refl ect and scrutinize the trials and tribulations of our own lives, taking on historical signifi cance as it documents and transforms three generations of life in the American Midwest. In 2015, this project lead to a solo exhibition at the Transformer Station/Cleveland Museum of Art and an award winning monograph of his work, published by Yale University Press to accompany the exhibition. In 2017, he was the winner of the 91st International Print Center Award and he had a solo exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art titled “I Was Born to Bring You into This World”, curated by DJ Hellerman. His work can be found in numerous public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the MoMA, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Progressive Art Collection, and many others.

Artist website

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