Helen Mirra: la malplena ĉambro estas bela

11 Sep—14 Nov 2020
la malplena ĉambro estas bela is a solo exhibition by the American artist Helen Mirra. A concurrent solo exhibition of Mirra’s work runs at Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin.

The exhibition’s title is a translation into Esperanto of 'the empty room is beautiful'. This phrase is itself a reordering of a phrase within a letter that the writer Franz Kafka sent to Milena Jesenská, in which he wrote, ‘the beautiful room is empty.’

This exhibition consists of a recent woven work, determined by chance, as well as two round bars of linen, a painted plank of wood, a line work, and an index card.

The woven work on display was made within the previous month: in September, a work made in August will be on show, in October, a work made in September will replace it. 

The round bars of linen were constructed during a multi-year process of weaving, looping the materials at hand around a frame, in so doing depleting the amount of yarn available for weaving.

The plank of wood is an artefact from 2003, imagining and practicing extending the perception of an ‘instant’ into the course of an entire day. Second-century Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna proposed that there were 65 ‘instants’ in the click of a finger, and that one ‘instant’ was the length of time between a cloudless perception and a clouding intellect.

The line work is a notational record of one day’s walking on the small circular island of Yakushima, Japan, in 2012.

The index card is a score for a walking activity to take place during this exhibition.

This triangulating moment is accompanied by a colourless booklet, available in printed form in both gallery exhibitions, and also to print at home in colour as a download from each gallery’s homepage. The booklet connects to Mirra’s incomplete catalogue raisonné Edge Habitat Materials (2014).

Absent from this colour book, yet present in the colourless booklet, is a sentence written by the Brazilian novelist and writer Clarice Lispector, unpublished at the time of her death.

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