30 March - 11 May 2024

Opening Reception:
Saturday, March 30, 6-9pm

Screening March 30, 7pm
Curated by Charlotte G. Chin Greene and Amy Shindo

FJORD is pleased to present The Land Bears Witness, an exhibition of works by Akiko Jackson, Charlotte Lagro, and Jiseon Min, curated by co-directors Charlotte G. Chin Greene and Amy Shindo.

We ask: what can art offer in a time of undeniable genocide*?

The three artists in this exhibition explore the ways that the body processes intergenerational wounds caused by government violence. Through material, spatial, and time-based media, these artists offer their work not as salvific answers to injustices, but as ways to consciously locate and name trauma within the body; to honor and excise it; to live beyond it.

While Akiko Jackson’s objects are structured from hardened clay and resin, she speaks of the impulse to braid hair as their origin. Methodically coiling and pinching her urns, her process becomes an act of repair and recovery. They are at once objects for personal catharsis as well as open vessels that she describes anticipate the future loss of her mother. Jackson gives form to what is perhaps nonlinguistic, or outside the linguistic. The embodied memories of her mother–who endured Japanese occupation of the indigenous Ainu island of Hokkaido and later immigrated to Hawai’i, severing ties with her homeland– are tended through Jackson’s process.

The expansive scale of Jiseon Min’s charcoal-on-canvas drawing abstracts her gestures beyond the local space of the body. Min first scrunches up her canvas before making marks, then opens the work to its full scale. We are left to piece together the traces of her logic. This work is paired with a video piece shot on Jeju Island, where between April 3, 1948 – May 13, 1949 the Korean army suppressed the Jeju Uprising, resulting in the largest government massacre of citizens in Korean history. Min, her mother, aunt, and grandmother walk through these grassy fields. Audio of their footfalls overlays a meandering, silent monologue recounting the womens’ dreams, fears, and memories in the wake of the Korean War. Min follows behind, capturing their gestures as they move through the grass. A pool of water, overlaid with Min’s childhood memory of stepping on a tack but stifling her cries, recedes as the camera zooms out. The unspoken becomes the landscape.

In “The Day the Clown Cried” (2015), Charlotte Lagro interleaves footage of her friend Dönci Bánki, a mime-artist of Hungarian Jewish descent, with leaked clips from the unreleased 1972 film of the same name by Jerry Lewis. In Lewis’s film, a German clown Helmut Doork is sent to a Nazi concentration camp, where he becomes the comic attendant to a group of Jewish children. Footage of Lewis as Doork putting on clown makeup, winking at the camera, and attempting to light a cigarette with a trick lighter, is answered now by Bánki’s miming – first in a black box theater, then on the roads and railways leading to Auschwitz. The distance between art and its subject, and particularly the failure of comedy to address genocide, becomes palpable. We are left to consider the stakes of our viewership, and the space between the present and the past. Lewis, afterall, declared his own work a failure. Lagro and Bánki, instead, give form and presence to this unsettled status, releasing it.

Art may not materially resolve large scale crimes against humanity. Artists alone cannot end the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Yet, Jackson, Min and Lagro offer somatically-focused work that does not conceal the suffering that is present within the everyday. Instead, these artists face traumatic events directly, but patiently, opening their complexity, placing us in present relation to them. In their work, it is the land itself, represented as raw material, surface, or stage, that bears witness to such horrors, however empathetic or indifferent. Perhaps, as a result, we may envision how our personal rituals, bodily movements, and habits - within our own daily landscapes - can act in solidarity across space and time, locate and heal intergenerational wounds, and enable hope to take root.

* Artist Johanna Hedva was recently censored for using the phrase “undeniable genocide” in a press release, in reference to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Her solo exhibition at Kunstverein Braunschweig in Germany was canceled on 2/29/2024, less than three weeks before its opening, and the director curating her show was fired.

FJORD recognizes our presence on the ancestral land of the Lenni-Lenape people of Lenapehoking and the Poutaxat (Delaware Bay). We acknowledge that our actions as a gallery and community space relate always to the colonization of Turtle Island/North America. Our presence has been enabled by this past, and our future is conditioned by a responsibility for its reparation. Most importantly, we recognize that indigenous relationships to the Lenapehoking and Poutaxat region remain active, and extend far beyond the timelines imposed by Western colonial history. We honor the Native inhabitants of this land and their historic and everlasting relationships with it.

About the Artists:

Akiko Jackson is from Kahuku, a rural north shore community on the island of O'ahu, Hawai’i. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Arts and an MA from California State University - Northridge, Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communications.

Jackson has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies throughout the country, which include the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Roswell Artist in Residence Program, Pottery Northwest, Vermont Studio Center, and the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Exhibitions include the 4th World Ceramic Biennale in Incheon Republic of Korea; the Wing Luke Museum of Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle; the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Los Angeles; and the USC Pacific Asia Museum.

Charlotte Lagro (b. 1989, The Netherlands) works with video, photography, performance, audio, sculpture and drawing, often working in collaboration with fellow artists and performers. Lagro has had solo exhibitions at Bonnefanten, Biennale de l’Image Possible, LOOP Barcelona, Galerie Nadja Vilenne, CIAP Kunstverein; and her work has been part of group exhibitions at OCAT Institute Beijing, Bible NYC and appeared in media such as Artforum Critics Pick and WETFilm. She received her BA from the Maastricht Institute of Arts and was a participant in various residencies, such as Jan van Eyck Academie in The Netherlands, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, Instituto Buena Bista in Curaçao and NARS Foundation in NYC. In 2015, she won the Hermine van Bers Fine Art Award.

Jiseon Min is an interdisciplinary artist who works with the concept of translation through mark making, experimental writing, video, and installation. Min considers translation as a place where unresolved and conflicting sensations reveal themselves and commune with one another. It is a dialectical and courageous means to offer possibilities of change. At the core of her research is a search for the political potential of sensation.

Min received an MFA in Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art and Architecture in 2023 and received a BA in Korean Literature and a BA in Psychology from Sungkyunkwan University(Seoul, South Korea). She lives and works between Seoul and Philadelphia, PA.

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