The Lining of Forgetting: Internal & External Memory in Art

  • Feb 10, 2008 – May 25, 2008
Louise Bourgeois, "Ode à L’Oubli", 2004 (detail – page 18), fabric
and color lithograph book, thirty-six framed pages, artist’s proof 1 of
an edition of 25, 10.75 x 13.25 x 2 in. Courtesy of Cheim & Read, New
York. Photo: Christopher Burke.

The Lining of Forgetting explores the ways we remember, both as individuals and collectively, and highlights how we mostly forget, rewrite and fabricate memory. The exhibition features sculpture, photography, work on paper, installation, video and computer-generated works by fourteen artists of international scope, including Edgar Arceneaux, Deborah Aschheim, Louise Bourgeois, Janice Caswell, John Coplans, Pablo Helguera, Emma Kay, Dinh Q. Lê, Scott Lyall, David Rokeby, Mungo Thomson, Cody Trepte, Kerry Tribe, and Rachel Whiteread.

An uneasy reliance on the silicon chip, spectacular advances in brain imaging and research, a massive population (the largest ever) entering their senior years, and a noted propensity for cultural amnesia have worked to increase society's preoccupation with issues surrounding memory. The Lining of Forgetting focuses on the function of memory itself and the way that artists have examined its mutable nature. Issues explored include: our increased reliance on digital technology to record and store our past; the mediation of memory through popular culture; our evolving perception of history in the age of the internet and globalization; and the way that individual memory works to support personal and collective identities.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by the narrative of French filmmaker Chris Marker's Sans Soleil (1983): “I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining.” This film, and others by Marker, including La Jetée (1962), reveal how memory is inconstant and, thus, should never be mistaken for a manifestation of the past; rather, every time a memory is articulated it changes and shows itself linked to both the past and the future.

The Lining of Forgetting is accompanied by a catalogue that includes artist bios, full color images and essays by the exhibition curator, Xandra Eden, British cultural theorist Dr. John Roberts, and new media curator Dr. Sarah Cook. “The Lining of Forgetting” is generously funded by the North Carolina Arts Council.

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