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Art Tue Apr 13 2010

Christine Tarkowski at The Chicago Cultural Center

tarkowski.jpg

Tarkowski's geodesic dome. Photo by Whitney Stoepel.

Christine Tarkowski's Last Things Will be First and First Things Will be Last is now on view at the Chicago Cultural Center through May 2. Tarkowski's work explores the relationship between social and religious rituals and architecture and how these structures interact with us both physically and emotionally.

This is Tarkowski's largest exhibition to date, spanning three rooms. Viewers are confronted immediately by colossal ship-like sails constructed of metal that, when examined from the other side, protect huge coils of cardboard tendrils. After cutting a path around the dominating ship structure, curtains printed with dilapidated landscapes guide viewers to the second room, which is wallpapered with posters. The posters, with bold black typefaces, read things like "PRAISE the SCAVENGER to CAPITALISM. BIO/WIND/HYDRO/SOLAR the GARBAGEMAN is the RATIONAL HERO" on white paper that look a bit like the wanted fliers of the Old West. This feeling is heightened by the country music that is echoed off the walls from behind the geodesic dome in the corner. There, plays a record with folksy gospel songs produced by Tarkowski and performed by Jon Langford from the punk band, The Mekons.

From the front, the geodesic dome exists as a perfect structure, glowing from within and protecting the system that exists behind it. But that euphoric feeling is lost, replaced by an odd sense of exposure when the viewer makes their way to the back of the dome, where a mess of wires hide. The record player becomes visible as well as the speakers, which sit carelessly on the floor. Tarkowski uses engineering concepts like the geodesic dome to showcase aspects of human dilemma, in this case, religion. The geodesic dome is a sort of mock edifice that acts as a place of worship. Before this show, Tarkowski, an atheist, gave a devout Amish woman one year to convert her. It never took and Tarkowski's conflict with religion and other social structures are displayed at this show.

The third and last room houses small cast iron sculptures that recall parking structures. On the surrounding walls are framed etchings of satellites in orbit. Both are associated with the title, Things That Go In Circles.

Tarkowski leaves no social structure unturned by utilizing the physical structures that play a large but mostly unrecognized role in our lives. Tarkowski successfully addresses issues like religion, war, oil, greed, environmentalism and so on, by instilling the viewer with an eerie sense of thoughtful loneliness rather than blaring, accusatory activism.

Tarkowski and Langfrod will perform the soundtrack from the exhibit titled, Thirsty Woman if You Drink this Water You'll Never be Thirsty Again! live on May 2 at 2pm at the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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