in the Tadao Cern‘S extensive installation “French exit“A cloud of feathery grass emerges over the room. The immersive artwork juxtaposes the short-lived, dried material with the viewers below, creating a calming and introspective space to contemplate the ideas of goodbye, be it the end of one Party or deeper experiences like the end of a relationship or death.
Cern tells Colossal that the title refers to the colloquial language of leaving a social gathering without saying goodbye. “It’s something I usually do because, as an introvert, I can’t take the attention you get when you say you have to leave. A ping-pong game begins with “I have to go” and “Please don’t go,” says the artist, who lives in Lithuania (previously) says.
The long-stemmed grasses give off a soft glow and combine with both the organic nature of the life cycle and the human desire to position ourselves in a broader context, especially when faced with aging and death. Cern writes:
I tried to focus more on the aspect that we would miss most in the last few seconds of leaving this place. I suspect it would be something mundane, like fields of wheat during sunset … Banality is the result of such a strong love and affection for something / someone that one is even fed up with it. And when you hang everything from the ceiling, the viewer gets the illusion of floating, as if you were being taken to heaven.
Just before the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cern made initial sketches for the installation, which also includes CGI elements and a massive downward arrow. Months later, he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, a coincidental point in time that changed his understanding of death and how we say goodbye together. “Once the pandemic is over, hopefully we will have the opportunity to reflect on our farewells in reality. If there is such a thing,” he says.
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