Tamar Ettun: Jubilation Inflation
Exhibition Dates : Oct. 12 - Dec. 15
Opening Reception: Performance and ArtWalk 5 - 9 p.m. Oct. 12, UNLV Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is pleased to present the culmination of a multiyear international art tetralogy by Tamar Ettun.
Jubilation Inflation unifies different areas of the artist's practice in a multifaceted examination of trauma, healing, and radical empathy.
On view in the museum’s East Gallery from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, this solo exhibition consists of several parts. At the center, there is an intimate compartment containing an installation of interactive audio work. It is surrounded by mixed media sculptures, a selection of experimental videos, and four inflatable room-sized environments where visitors will be enveloped by a climate of vivid color. Influenced by the avant-garde individualism of mid-twentieth century art movements such as Fluxus and Gutai, Ettun asks us to explore the experience of play. Playfulness, in the context of her work, offers us a chance to process our engagement with the world. The selection of artist videos includes work by Alika Cooper, Cheryl Donegan, Trulee Hall, Joan Jonas, and Jen Liu.
Tina Wang, a long time collaborator and “mover” from Ettun's New York performance ensemble, The Moving Company, will visit Las Vegas to collaborate with local dancers in a live improvisation of ritual-like actions that interweave personal vocabularies of object-oriented movement with the generation of a unique community. Movement is essential to Ettun’s work. Even her still sculptures have been constructed so that they seem to gesture like human bodies. Made from cloth and found objects, they encounter the space of the gallery with an aura of vulnerable personhood. That atmosphere of vulnerability extends into the snug central area of the exhibition where a video shows us how interactions with soda bottles, sardine tins, and other commodities can become primal expressions of alarm and desire. Flights of paratroopers in another video invert their encounter with the sky and float back into their planes.
The question of negotiating a world where we are exposed to both pain and joy has played a constant role in Ettun’s career. The human potential for transformation through empathy has absorbed her since her upbringing in Israel where she lived with two siblings suffering from cystic fibrosis and eventually witnessed the numbing impact of institutional brutality when she was conscripted into a military parachute regiment as a young adult.
“I observed closely how dealing with trauma and PTSD increases rigidity and shuts down communication, as conversation requires a flexible position and contains the potential to change and be changed by another person,” she says. “This personal experience led to some of the themes of my practice today — for instance, my resistance to simple binaries of right and wrong, which I experience through the fluidity of play and the senses.” The metamorphosis of parachute fabric from a vehicle for martial aggression into the soft, bright walls of her inflatable rooms typifies the alchemy she creates. Her structured spaces reveal the human spirit through simple materials such as fabric, inflated air, tape, stitches, ropes, and wood.
Each previous iteration of the tetralogy has found new ways to draw connections between color and emotion, dividing the project into blue/empathy, yellow/desire, pink/aggression, and orange/joy. Jubilation Inflation brings all four elements together for the first time, introducing Las Vegas and the western United States to the world of Tamar Ettun at a crucial moment in her career.
The title for the exhibition is inspired by On Orange, a poem by Rose McLarney. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Ettun is a sculptor and a performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She has had exhibitions and performances at Art Omi Sculpture Garden, the Watermill Center, e-flux, Sculpture Center, Knockdown Center, Madison Square Park, Bryant Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum, Uppsala Art Museum, Fridman Gallery, Braverman Gallery, PERFORMA 09, 11 and 13, among others. She received awards and fellowships from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, Franklin Furnace, Macdowell Fellowship, Marble House Project, RECESS, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Art Production Fund, and Iaspis. Ettun founded the Moving Company, an artist's collective creating performances in public spaces and a social engagement project with Brooklyn teens hosted by the Brooklyn Museum. Ettun received her MFA from Yale University in 2010 where she was awarded the Alice English Kimball Fellowship. She studied at Cooper Union in 2007, while earning her BFA from Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. She teaches at Columbia University's School of Arts, Lehman College, and the New School Parsons School of Design. ORANGE, the final performance of the tetralogy, will premiere at Pioneer Works in 2019.