April 3 - May 29, 2020

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

Veronique d’Entremont (Los Angeles, CA)

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation detail (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River

  Veronique d’Entremont, Baptized In The Fires Of The Cuyahoga River, installation (2020), photo by Rustin McCann

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ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Los Angeles-based artist Veronique d’Entremont presents an immersive installation that explores personal histories and present experiences of segregation and dissociation in the Cleveland area.

Working primarily in sculpture and sound, d’Entremont’s work builds meaning through the layering of site, process and materials. Dividing lines, both visible and invisible, become the subject and the medium for her work. Architectural rubbings (like grave rubbings, only larger) reveal the doors and windows of an abandoned apartment complex, located on Lee road between Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. Through a series of actions that resemble a ritual as much as they do an art practice, d’Entremont takes these rubbings to the edge of a highway that divides America’s Oldest Housing Project from the new cafes and condos of Ohio City. The rubbings are coated in light-sensitive cyanotype chemicals, they are buried in rock salt, they are exposed to the sun—each action working to simultaneously reveal and obscure, to purify and to preserve. Finally, d’Entremont takes these objects to Industrial Valley, where she washes them in the murky, opaque water of the Cuyahoga River.

A NOTE FROM THE ARTIST:

At the start of my two-month residency at SPACES in early February, there was no way I could have imagined the state that we in this country would find ourselves in today. It is March 27th, 2020 and I am writing these words from Los Angeles, where we are under an order not to leave our homes to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is exactly one week after I left Cleveland, amid growing concerns about the pandemic, my car packed with a sleeping bag and enough food and water to self-quarantine along the five-day drive home.

The installation I had planned for the gallery at SPACES looked quite different than my final execution of it. In the span of just a few mid-March days, the world had drastically changed, and so too did this exhibition. Proceeding with a plan conceived in a pre-pandemic world seemed like a disservice to the work, to myself, and to anyone who might see it. I say all of this not as an excuse, but as a lens through which to view the work, and the larger structural problems it addresses. We are living through a moment of incredible, seismic shift. I have no doubt the systems that serve us will look quite different when all of this is through. While the uncertainty contained in this declaration might sound scary, I wholeheartedly believe that the biggest danger facing us is our tendency to cling to the familiar. Our desire to return things to “normal,” even though normal wasn’t looking so good for most of us.

Baptized in the Fires of the Cuyahoga River is a sound and sculpture installation as well as a text, written to make sense of what I saw and heard while researching issues of environmental racism and segregation in Cleveland. This text is equally a poem as it is a critical essay; an incantation as it is a call to action. It is just one element of a larger soundscape, presented in my installation at SPACES, that I hope to make available online soon. When heard in context, the voices and experiences that Cleveland residents so generously shared with me take on a prophetic tone. They remind me that, even in times of total upheaval, the same power structures will remain if we don't actively seek change. In a moment when we are literally being asked by our political officials to choose between the value we place on the economy and that which we place on human life, I hope we can walk through our fear of uncertainty and transform these systems together.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

I want to express gratitude to the many people who shared their thoughts and stories with me during my time in Cleveland. Those stories and interactions I chose to incorporate into the final soundscape are only a small selection, but each conversation was necessary in shaping my understanding of the city and lived experiences of its residents. I would like to thank: James Adams, Bryan Atlas, Darla M. Character-Johnson, Jimmy Crews, Leon Hines, Kevin Hogan, David Harper, Stan Jackson, Tommy Jackson, Lenell Johnson, Latoya, Kent, Bill Moore, Gwen Neville, Aaron Oroz, Aaron D. Snorton, Curtis Teague, Lamont Thomas, RA Washington, James Clark, Ohio City Fire Station 4, Record Revolution on Coventry

SPACES would also like to thank Black Valve Media and Rustin McCann for documenting this exhibition.

About the Artist

Veronique d’Entremont

Veronique d’Entremont is a multi-disciplinary artist who examines the social and institutional spaces we inhabit, how they shape us and how we can ultimately transform them. Through entwined studio, pedagogical and ritual practices, Veronique displays a commitment to collaboration, community organizing and to art as a medium for building empathy... go to artist page

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