01 April 2011

Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

Lewis & Taggart (CA)
Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger

Louise Bourgeois (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010),
French-American artist and sculptor

Dennis Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010),
American actor, filmmaker and artist

Louise Bourgeois and Dennis Hopper probably never met in life, but did they meet in death? They died just two days apart. This fact is the only link that connect these two important cultural personas, but this is the basis of the idea of this exhibition. Lewis & Taggart are suggesting that they did finally meet. The long wall is covered by portraits of the two famous people side by side by side by side. But all their eyes are removed. Some eyes are to be found other places in the room. Are their spirit still among us? Questions about death and what comes after seems to be important in this exhibition.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

Louise and Dennis were far from the only ones dying on these dates. If they did meet, what about all the others that died? Did they meet them as well? I got curious, and had a look at Wikipedia:
- 6 people were killed in a gas canister blast in an underground tunnel in Palestine
- 30 persons were killed in a bus crash in Cameroon
- 7 police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan
- 6 died after eating poisonous plants in northwest China
- 10 activists were killed by Israeli forces storming the Gaza-bound international flotilla
- 6 Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on a navy base in Kurdistan
And countless people died without any attention in the media.
How would Dennis and Louise meet each other in this mass of people entering the death world those days?

Lewis & Taggart are creating the outlines of a story. We must continue imagining what happens.I might be far off the topic on this, but this is how the exhibition affects me. It sets my mind wandering, wondering.

The exhibition room is filled with different people, small figures on high pedestals made of branches, mounted on books on the floor. All the people are anonymized by an animal skull covering their faces. Are they representing all the nameless people that died these days? One of the figures' pedestal is on a spear crushing a man on a photo. Is the man on the base the same as the one on top, wearing an animal skull? For me this is a key piece, explaining that all the skull-wearing collage persons are dead people.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Act of God"

Another important feature in the exhibition are a pair of glasses. On the inside they are green, on the outside you see the eyes of Louise and Dennis. From the outside you are observing the facade of the celebrities. But if you had put the glasses on, you would see only green color. Is this what they were/are seeing? Even if you take the glasses off, you end up staring at a green feature on the wall right in front of you. The vision of Louise and Dennis stays even if you use your own eyes.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Splash 1"
Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
"Splash 1"

The climax is the Deathcloud itself. An octangular carousel of several layers like a wedding cake, topped with a large cloudlike shape above it. The cloud is made up by fragments of Dennis and Louise portraits, standing on top of a long vertical pole. The carousel is adorned with collages of different people in different poses and situations. Their heads are covered by an animal skull, like they are all preoccupied with death. Are they aware of the deathcloud soaring above them? Even if they seem to be busy minding their own business, they all form a kind of tribal dance formation. Maybe their task is to keep the death cloud up there, thus keeping Dennis and Louise together. In this way Louise and Dennis DID meet, supported by all the other people that died that weekend in May 2010.

Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise
Lewis & Taggart (CA): Deathcloud for Dennis and Louise

I wonder what could have happened if Louise Bourgeois and Dennis Hopper met in real life for a collaboration project. I will never know.

Link to the exhibition webpage here