Jubilation Inflation

Exhibition Dates:
Pace University Gallery
October 14-November 26, 2019
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
October 12 - December 15, 2018

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 October 12 to December 15, 2018, 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, 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. A video program of colorful, feminist, funny, and poetic works composed by Ettun will accompany the exhibition. This program will include works by Alika Cooper(Chthonic (Ivy), 2018), Cheryl Donegan (Cheryl , 2005), Trulee Hall (The Blue Fertile, 2018), Joan Jonas (Reanimation, 2010/2012/2013), and Jen Liu (Pink Slime Caesar Shift, 2018).

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. On October 12, 2018, at 6:15 pm, local dancers from the UNLV Department of Dance will perform Blue from the repertoire of The Moving Company, a performance art ensemble and collective. A collaborative rehearsal process led by the mover Tina Wang will reinterpret Blue with specific motions and placements. This piece is a live improvisation of ritual-like actions that interweave personal vocabularies of object-oriented movement with a contemporary community. 

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.

Audio walls include sound pieces from The Moving Company performances and videos by Helado Negro with voice by Maia Karo (Yellow), Nire (Pink),  Atteler (Blue), and Gus Callahan (Orange).

The title for the exhibition is inspired by On Orange, a poem by Rose McLarney.

Photo Credit: Justin Locust, Courtesy the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

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.