Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) opens DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death

. March 8, 2014

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) presents DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death on view March 7–June 8, 2014, presents work by 23 contemporary artists, both living and deceased, who seek meaning in mortality. Across a range of materials and processes, works in this exhibition present diverse perspectives on life, death, and that which lies between and beyond. A dirge is a mourning song. Likewise, many artists in the exhibition use their work as a vehicle for expressing grief. This includes highly personal exercises by artists facing their own mortality. With emphasis on the body and its inevitable failure, these works portray the complex physical, emotional, and psychological effects of facing death. Other artists draw upon their experiences of losing others. In this regard, the archive is a particularly potent concept as artists inventory and modify objects and ephemera that symbolize a loved one who has passed. Moving beyond individual experiences, many works emphasize mortality’s role in defining sociopolitical systems, cultural practices, and spiritual belief. Some consider how death can be used as a mechanism for control, power, and protest. Others explore the relationship between life and afterlife. Light plays a strong metaphoric role here, suggesting the endurance of relationships beyond death. The exhibition arcs from the personal to the universal, historic to the present, literal to the symbolic, in order to explore this inevitable yet mysterious experience we all share. “The exhibition arcs from the personal to the universal, historic to the present, literal to the symbolic, in order to explore this inevitable yet mysterious experience we all share. DIRGE creates an expansive space in which we may contemplate the nature of life by reflecting on its end.”

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
11400 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio

Category: Fine Art

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