Jenni Crain

Synonyms for Sorrow
Charim Schleifmühlgasse, Vienna, AT
Invited by SORT, Vienna, AT
Patricia L. Boyd, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Taylor Davis, Masao Gozu, Dan Graham, Park McArthur, Shanekia McIntosh
October 23 – November 28, 2021

I am reluctant to extend too many words that seek to describe this space referred to as sorrow, which I hope, here, might be felt. Held. Independently. Together. Not held in a way that contains, but held in a way that acknowledges, appreciates, addresses, resonates, reverberates, shakes, wakes, and, also, rests. For a moment.

I am interested in an idea of sitting with sorrow.

I have been thinking about sorrow as some sort of gravitational understanding. A knowing that is carried in the body, or exists in the body, as what is conventionally considered as diametric, as opposition. These concurrent sensations simultaneously weigh one down, churn one up, and uproot. Existing, together, as suspension. A sensorial cyclone that displaces singularity.

Sorrow is beyond the body.

It seems to be a longing that is based both here and now and elsewhere.

Sorrow seems to be tethered to a connection between someone or something or someplace and someone or something or someplace else.

Its forms of isolation are always in proximity to another.

Longing.

What’s so tender about sorrow is that this longing for what is not coexists with this type of coursing understanding that it cannot be. This is known in a nature not unlike breathing.

But just as vital as this knowing of what cannot and will not be, there is, in sorrow, a dependence on hope for that which cannot and will not be.

Nurture is not orderly.

Order does not amount to anything greater than these hallows of honesty.

I feel quite close to something dear when I sit with sorrow. Its absence seems to beat in the heart.

01_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
02_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
03_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
04_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
05A_Patricia L Boyd_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Patricia L. Boyd Absorption, Elimination: Technics SL-1200MK2 (CCA Wattis, 10/12/17-02/24/18), 2017 - 2018. Used restaurant grease, wax, damar, resin, particle board. 23.5 x 15.6 x 3.8 inches (59.7 x 39.7 x 9.7 cm)

06A_Taylor Davis View 1_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Taylor Davis ONE EIGTH DEAD CENTER, 2008. Cherry burl. 21 x 4 x 5 inches (53.3 x 10.2 x 12.7 cm)

07_Taylor Davis View 2_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
08A_Dan Graham_View 1_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Dan Graham Pavilions, 1996. Video; color, sound. Duration: 26 minutes

09_Dan Graham_View 2_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
10_Dan Graham_View 3_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
11_Dan Graham_View 4_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
12_Dan Graham_View 5_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
13_Dan Graham_View 6_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
14_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
15_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
16A_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
16B_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
16C1_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Park McArthur Involuntary Questions, 2020. Laser print, framed. 11.69 x 8.27 inches (29.7 x 21 cm) (unframed).

[An artwork in a black frame. The artwork is an email that has been printed out. The upper left corner shows the Gmail logo. Under this is the email’s subject line “Involuntary Questions,” followed by a horizontal line spanning the width of the page, followed by three email addresses pamcarthur@gmail.com, jennilcrain@gmail.com and martynalexander@gmail.com opposite the date and time [October 20, 2021 at 2:05 PM], followed by the text: “Which height is most comfortable for thinking about what’s on the pages / Which patterns create less stress on the imagination / How much space is needed between copies / Can copies be layered and placed on top of one another / How many copies are needed in order to get inside a daydream / Which groupings remind you of where you want to live someday / Which areas hold ideas for next year / Which areas emphasize the end of a day / What kinds of arrangements would you not even have to think about at all / What kinds of arrangements cannot be described”.]

Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street/Maxwell Graham.

16D1_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Jenni Crain

Park McArthur ...synthetic questions...,2019. Laser print, framed. 11.69 x 8.27 inches (29.7 x 21 cm) (unframed).

[An artwork in a black frame. The artwork is an email that has been printed out. The upper left corner shows the Gmail logo. Under this is the email’s subject line “...synthetic questions...,” followed by a horizontal line spanning the width of the page, followed by three email addresses pamcarthur@gmail.com, jennilcrain@gmail.com and martynalexander@gmail.com opposite the date and time [October 20, 2021 at 2:04 PM], followed by the text: “Is it familiar to be within reach / Did you choose the music / Or have a part in making your routine / Does a routine bend / (Did I give it a nine out of ten) / Or does it adhere to itself / Is it your posture or weight bearing or is it the way you are lifted that describes how I feel / What should question seven be / Is it the way you handle being photographed that gives me a clue / Or is it the way you take up time that I should pay attention to”.]

Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street/Maxwell Graham.

16E1_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Park McArthur Some follow up questions, 2017. Laser print, framed. 11.69 x 8.27 inches (29.7 x 21 cm) (unframed).

[An artwork in a black frame. The artwork is an email that has been printed out.The upper left corner shows the Gmail logo. Under this is the email’s subject line “Some follow up questions,” followed by a horizontal line spanning the width of the page, followed by three email addresses pamcarthur@gmail.com, jennilcrain@gmail.com and martynalexander@gmail.com opposite the date and time [October 20, 2021 at 2:03 PM], followed by the text: “How quickly does it dry after getting wet / Was it a raincoat or a life vest that I was reminded of while putting it on / How many tries did it take to learn how to use the leg holes / Was the seat dark green with black edges / What other colors can it be / What size did the frame break down to / How would it feel to be lifted farther than the distance from the couch to the bathroom / Did a metal smell remain on Jason's hands / Would swinging longer be fun / What else is fun”.]

Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street/Maxwell Graham.

16F1_Park McArthur_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Park McArthur These are the questions I would ask, 2013. Laser print, framed. 11.69 x 8.27 inches (29.7 x 21 cm) (unframed).

[An artwork in a black frame. The artwork is an email that has been printed out. The upper left corner shows the Gmail logo. Under this is the email’s subject line “These are the questions I would ask,” followed by a horizontal line spanning the width of the page, followed by three email addresses pamcarthur@gmail.com, jennilcrain@gmail.com and martynalexander@gmail.com opposite the date and time [October 20, 2021 at 2:03 PM], followed by the text: “1. Which patient lift is more comfortable in moving a patient / 2. Which patient lift has more head and neck support 3. / Which patient lift has less stress on internal organs 4. / Which patient lift better alleviates the fear of being moved 5. / Which patient lift allows the patient to comfortably stay on lift longer if necessary 6. / How many caregivers does it take to safely move a patient 7. / Does the patient lift have to be assembled before moving a patient 8. / Which patient lift minimizes the loss of dignity and privacy 9. / Which lift allows the patient (if able) to control their posture 10. / Which lift allows you to sit at the table and eat with family”.]

Courtesy of the artist and Essex Street/Maxwell Graham.

17A_Theresa Hak Kyung Cha_View 1_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Re Dis Appearing, 1977. Video; b&w, sound. Duration: 2:30 minutes

18_Theresa Hak Kyung Cha_View 2_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
19_Theresa Hak Kyung Cha_View 3_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
20_Theresa Hak Kyung Cha_View 3_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain
21A_Masao Gozu_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Masao Gozu Mott Street (Chinatown) 4 PM. May 18, 1972, 2017 (printed). Archival print. 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50 cm) (unframed)

22_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Shanekia McIntosh_Curated by Jenni Crain
23A_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Shanekia McIntosh_Curated by Jenni Crain

Shanekia McIntosh Epitaph, 2019. Poem printed in wall vinyl.

[Complete poem follows exhibition documentation.]

24A_Installation View_Synonyms for Sorrow_Curated by Jenni Crain

Shanekia McIntosh
Epitaph, 2019

Take these notes. For An Epitaph of
mines, yours, and ours.

It all once felt limitless. Now stuck.
The possibilities are so fleeting.
We used to say “Come What May.”
Slowly, those words of assurance turned to
A pithy “Oh Dear.” As it continued to-
“Now What,” to a weakened shrug. That slow fade.
However stifling the codes and numbers seemed
To provide an easier route.

Transparently, ourselves and others.
The disappointment always radiating from mines to theirs
Skin peeled to expose raw humanity
Jealousy, vengeance, mobility, and other wayward ​politik
Wept for seeing too clearly.
Exposed myths
Scrolling infinitely
Pursuing desires, new modes, identities.
Imbued with fables of goddesses and self
Echoing into a fit
Nothing left for change.

We explored the outreaches
Looking to settle, for the chest tightened
Often enough for us to embrace the collapse
When the fear heightened.
“The experience of experience”; an incurable loop.

Suddenly. It feels futile to talk,
To receive. What is there to believe;
The easiness in which to throw away
The difficulties of confronting

Complicated?
Complications that come back to haunt.
Not the simplicity of who or what for, we know.
More of what we are to lose.
Are words no longer filled with the power as we were once taught,
Or is it merely another shallow image as we have long believed and feared.
The whispers that followed for so long.
Worked to be quieted—“Oh Dear”—
Returns to an uproarious volume.
Is it in the matter in which we mourn?

Abuses through inaction or faint acknowledgements.
Complications.
Course correcting, attempting to keep up.

What deserves mourning?

I say it’s all over.
We do, with the algorithm that pushes
The thoughts of the apocalypse can only bring a relief, in some sense pleasure.

Compassion is too complicated.
Intoxicated by the blankness
Our silence bought us peace
The cost in the end was our shame.

I was also weak and somewhat a fool, could only look in horror and keep inventory.
“If complicated folks like complicated folks and if we are all complicated
Then what's the point of even speaking?” I thought. See, a fool. But no more
Foolish than you.

It felt best to embrace the eternal pool of silence.
Oh, how easy it is to admire the peace and the calm of the reflection of the familiar.
Humanity as your own responsibility undictated by anything else.

There was a day. It was yesterday or maybe 20 yesterdays.
We sat and breathed in the cold air;

To see Now.
“Break the cycle,” we said.
Duppies.​ All we are, see, surrounded—
The cold sweat.
a god. An idol created. from an idea of a noble life image.
When the future depended

Our throats are parched. We circle around each other
Confused and incapable, no, unwilling, to express
The old wounds and how often they flare and sting
The heart beating, that it reverberates throughout our bodies.
Waiting to tell.
Floating in and out the pressure that
brings a serene calm to capture the inexplicable.

Falling in a solace, a late-bloomed reckoning
What was so often dutifully ignored.

Faster and harder. To the toes. The weakened arms.
Time
Floating. Reminders,
In the pit of the stomach. The hover over the shoulder.
There, Here, and There.

Must there be silence? Yes.
And when it hits, here it hits
The final question. The one it all depended on.

How will we be immortalized?
How will you?
I?

There it is. That sunken feeling, the final trick.
To lend ourselves to a legacy that preserves without us.
What if it is no longer there?
Oh Dear.