When the Hero Becomes the Problem
3118 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026
Friday, April 12 at 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Ends Apr 26, 2024
Tita Cicognani, Kim DeJesus, HP Denham, Jake Fagundo, Llyn Foulkes, Micah Hickerson, Daniel Ingroff, Daniel Licht, Charles Long, Matthew Monahan, Jessica Palermo and Liat Yossifor We often think of the hero as the central figure of any story, the redeemer, the protector, the one who sacrifices for the collective and is memorialized. In his seminal tome, “The Labyrinth of Solitude,” Octavio Paz wrote that “the tomb of the hero is the cradle of civilization.” This seems to be universal: the theme of the hero as the noble martyr, whose valiant acts and whose death, conjoined together, form the birth of law, peace, and well-being. But we often cast aside the notion that, as Paz wrote, the hero can “become the problem.” The hero, like us, has a shadow, a darkness, that we ignore. It is the hero, as Roberto Calasso suggested, who needs the monster, not the other way around, and so we have a hero that naturally needs terror or a threat to even exist. She may even pine for it - without it, she isn’t. Or, as Jorge Luis Borges recounted, the hero may be, in fact, a traitor, only elaborately vaulted into a legend to preserve the myth for the people, when in fact he was their betrayer, the Brutus, and not the Caesar, the Judas and not the Christ. And yet we are in the midst of a cultural exorcism that seeks to defenestrate our heroes. As opposed to the lofty mythology that we created to memorialize the great men and women of history, the current moment, in a similar Manichean fashion, desires to destroy them. This exhibition explores this very duality of the hero who becomes the problem. If we contain multitudes, so do our would-be saviors, our assassinated and beloved kings and queens. Do we have a chance for collective redemption, then, in excavating the shadows of the heroes and accepting them? Rather than losing ourselves to selective myths or rejecting hands, which will always be unclean, do we welcome the hero? Image: Llyn Foulkes, "Induction" (2022)
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