Untitled (Spiral)

Installation view at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, IL

Installation view at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, IL

Distributed across the floor on rectangular white panels reminiscent of beds or coffins, the melancholic collection of objects seemed left behind, perhaps in a ritual, but certainly in accordance with an internal logic or a long forgotten directive. Among eroding urn-like forms and black & white videos with simple unchanging text, Untitled (Spiral) was vastly influenced by its setting. Due to the commanding curatorial voice, and despite obvious differences in medium and approach, all of the work looked as though one artist had created it. There was a stillness and tranquility throughout the exhibit.

Untitled (Spiral) was ambiguous in a number of ways. It featured an androgynous child that faced away from the camera while drawing an irregular spiral with white chalk. The mid-length hairstyle and non-descript gown, combined with the old-fashioned blackboard and chalk, all in black and white, made the video nonspecific enough to be timeless while evoking the passing of time. Nothing seemed to change as the video repeated the creation of the spiral performed by the child. However, with the spiral beginning and ending again and again, nothing could be recovered either. Multiple iterations were sectioned and edited into the looping video, further interfering with the completion of the drawing. These iterations reminded us of the impossibility of true repetition, of the inability to return to things that have been lost or transformed by the experience of recollection, by changes within the process.

Suara Welitoff, Untitled (Spiral), 2013, Single Channel Video

Suara Welitoff, Untitled (Spiral), 2013, Single Channel Video

Installation view at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, IL

Installation view at Heaven Gallery in Chicago, IL

Ultimately, the video was the spatial and temporal nexus in the exhibition. The flatscreen display had extra room on the panel and away from other objects, implying that the image could extend outside the limits of the screen and into the physical space. The space was of ritual evocation, casting the changeless variation of the video throughout the entire exhibit. A unifying symbol of growth and infinity, the spiral was imminent like a black hole or a galaxy or perhaps a developing seashell. However, it never grew beyond a certain point. This continuous imminence signified what was left, a final forgetting.


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