An event every day that begins at 12:00 pm, repeating until April 22, 2021
Monika Weiss: Monument | Anti-Monument
The interdisciplinary exhibition Monument / Anti-Monument invites us to ask who is remembered and who is forgotten in our collective memory and in its manifestations within public space. This is achieved through the work of the internationally celebrated artist Monika Weiss and her paradigm-shifting monument/anti-monument project Nirbhaya.
Monika Weiss’ work is predicated on the act of unforgetting past traumas. It has particular resonance at a time when we rethink our histories and our ways of remembering. A forthcoming permanent outdoor monument by Monika Weiss is slated to be built in both Europe and the US. In this video/sound sculpture the artist transforms the traditional vertical form of the triumphal arch into a horizontal sarcophagus filled with water and projected video. The exhibition includes drawings, photographs, films, musical compositions, a new performance piece, and renderings of the monument itself.
Exploring the intersection of the arts and humanities with civic concerns, the exhibition is accompanied by panel discussions that engage the public in exploring shared memory; our collective memory. The panels bring together the artist with local and National scholars to debate the role of monuments and commemorative architecture in shaping cultural identity in the public sphere. They will also address new approaches to create a more inclusive commemorative landscape.
1. Monika Weiss, Nirbhaya, 2020-2021, limited edition archival C-print, edition 1 of 3 + 2AP, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.
Who is remembered, who is forgotten, and how do we unforget violence, in order to remake a world without it?
In my films and performances, the protagonist’s eyes are closed. She lies down in a state of meditative, symbolic and peaceful resistance, leaving marks and traces of presence in opposition to heroic fantasies of conquest and power.
Nirbhaya is named for Jyoti Singh, aka ‘Nirbhaya’ who was raped and killed at the ageof 23 in New Delhi in 2012. It is a memorial not for conquerors and war heroes but for forgotten victims of everyday violence.
The inspiration for the Nirbhaya sculpture comes from the long tradition of triumphal arches, which embody victorious verticality, making wars and colonial invasions into heroic history.In Nirbhaya, I place a triumphal arch down, mirroring with its own double, to create a vessel filled with water. The triumphal arch no longer hovers above us. Instead, we look down into the water and see a specter of a woman, her body shrouded in long black robe and veiled, her face morphing from one woman into another, making slow, universal gestures of lamentation. She eventually becomes a tree.
Resembling an ancient sarcophagus, Nirbhaya honors women of all cultures and times who continue to undergo trauma of rape, torture and death. A site of meditation and stillness, the monument offers a pathway for reimagining collective remembrance, abandoning victorious monumentality and celebrating the horizontal and peaceful future of humanity.
– Monika Weiss
Monika Weiss is an internationally celebrated contemporary Polish-American artist based in New York and in St. Louis, whose interdisciplinary work in performance, sculpture, drawing, video, and sound, addresses collective memory and its representations in the public sphere, as well as the role of lament in shaping the future of history. Her new forthcoming permanent outdoor monument Nirbhaya is planned concurrently in her native Poland and in the US.
MONUMENT LOCATIONS | SUPPORTING INSTITUTIONS
Two permanent outdoor pieces of the same name are planned in Poland and in US. The Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko—a National Institution of Culture in Poland—is organizing the first permanent version of Nirbhaya in their national sculpture park in 2021. US location for Nirbhaya is co-organized by Streaming Museum. Supporting Institutions include also Harvestworks, New York, Hyphen-Hub, New York, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Production support is provided by Lamar Johnson Collaborative, Chicago/St. Louis and EMA | Experimental Media Arts Lab, University of Arkansas.
The Nirbhaya monument by Monika Weiss is featured in the upcoming issue of Centerpoint Now, the publication of the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN), produced in collaboration with Streaming Museum, that highlights issues on the agenda of the international community and marks 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.
NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) has generously offered fiscal sponsorship supporting the fundraising campaign for Nirbhaya. For more information about Nirbhaya fundraising campaign please go to NYFA’s website here:
New York Foundation for the Arts