Upon arriving in Thun Switzerland, we made a bee line to the Kunstmuseum to view the exhibition by Lorna Simpson ‘Haze’
Lorna Simpson is a USA artist who became famous in the 1980s with her conceptual works comprised of collages of photographs from her grandmother’s old ‘Ebony’ and ‘Jet’ magazines from the 1950s to 1970s and text snippet works. A time line.
Simpson challenges the conventual view of memory, identity, history, gender, and fiction.
With the ‘Haze’ exhibition, we saw many examples of her collage works as well as her interpretation of the blurred views when looking at the old magazine covers through ice (actually glass blocks). Most effective.
However, her most stunning works were her large paintings of clouds and glaciers. Depicted in luminescent blue and white with splashes of black. The ‘blue hour’, the magical moment of dawn or twilight when day and night merge together. A time of quietness symbolising the the move between reality and unconsciousness. Blue is also the the ‘blues’, authentic black music. ‘I’ve got the blues’ describing sadness and melancholy.
Primal almost. The effect of dark times staring out at us. Unsettling and according to the artist, alluding to the political situation during President Trump’s administration. Hostile and inhospitable especially for the black people. Are we looking at racial discrimination here?
Coffee in the café alongside the museum was most welcome after viewing this exhibition that left us unsettled yet most thoughtful of the strange political times we are living through.
This is the mark of an excellent and serious artist, to leave us with thoughts and feelings of what we’d experienced.
Lorna Simpson (b 1960) grew up in Brooklyn New York, USA. She has exhibited at MoMA NYC, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, LA Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hans der Kunst, Munich.
Lorna Simpson Thun Switzerland