Installation and performance: Doni Silver Simons
Sara True Rosenthal - Performer
Michelle Green Wilner, DMA - Composer
Doni Silver Simons, a cross-genre artist who traverses performance and installation art, creates performances that produce stationary works – residue as evidence.
Reliquary: An Ascent, created for the 2019 Jerusalem Biennale and performed by Sara True, addresses violation, liberation, and restoration. It emerged from an act of vandalism and explores the debate, repetition and compromise required to achieve resolution.
In 2012/2013, Silver Simons created Whisper Pitch. This two-month durational installation and performance, exhibited in Los Angeles, was the first of her works to employ broad community engagement. The artist guided participants in marking the installation walls. Collectively, individual parallel lines were encoded to create the symphonic voice of a communal work.
On New Year's Eve 2013, at a private event in the gallery, Whisper Pitch was vandalized beyond repair. This wanton act destroyed a pivotal work in the artist’s oeuvre. In response, Silver Simons created a series exploring defacement, including the interactive work After Image (2016, Maiden LA), and the performance The Beast Within Us, in collaboration with composer Michelle Green Willner, DMA (2018, Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica). This epilogue, culminating in Reliquary: An Ascent, achieved reparation.
In Reliquary II, paint and charcoal superimposed over the vandalized work camouflage its defacement. A low wooden chair, previously used for birthing, suggests death through the practice of sitting shiva (the seven-day mourning period in Judaism), while also alluding to rebirth by its intended use. The adjacent staircase echoes with ascending and descending footsteps reinforcing the concepts within this work. The evocative soundtrack, composed by Michelle Green Willner DMA, augments the narrative. Paper fragments reflect the destruction of the artistic ideal reminding us that conscious acts of violation can never be totally contained. A rough-hewn table with a toolbox, a metaphor for both mediation and a burial site, serve as a genizah, a container designated for the disposal of sacred writings.
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