The exhibition showcases specific aspects of Ericsson’s epic archival project “Crackle & Drag,” a ruthlessly honest, yet tender portrayal of his mother who committed suicide at age 57, and of the triangulated relationships between three generations within one Northeastern Ohio family. Ericsson’s first exhibition at the gallery provides a deeper look into one of the many complex narratives addressed in his current solo exhibition “I Was Born To Bring You Into This World,” which runs at the Everson Museum of Art until December 31st 2017.
Pairs of selected works focus on the relationship between a father and his daughter, as told by her son after their deaths. Together they form a mixed-media portrait of two people and three generations of life in the rustbelt. The title “Cinders” refers to Ericsson’s past, his process, motivation, materials and allegiance with certain post-modernist philosophy, particularly an impossibility of existence pointed to in Jacques Derrida’s eponymous book. Similar to archival projects from artists like Marcel Broodthaers or the duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, existing objects and images become distribution systems for agency as they are transformed through rigorous conceptual and formal decisions. Ericsson’s work however, makes private information public in a gesture where politics and institutional critique exist only as generosity, concern and care.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a two channel video installation reminiscents Hollis Frampton’s Nostalgia. On one wall Ericsson’s mother’s voice is projected in typed sentences pulled from old letters or transcribed from lost recordings. She describes a traumatic relationship with her father, which is deeply personal and at times discomforting to read. Parallel to this, photographs of the family archive are shown as they are slowly burnt and drown in flames. In the shadows of the video installation are two bronze casts of objects inherited from his grandfather. One is of a letter opener his grandfather made from bullet casing while serving in the merchant marine in WWII. The heavy cast bronze is encrusted with a fragment from a typed letter from Ericsson’s mother. In the backspace of the gallery, beautiful handmade ceramic urns are at once art objects and actual reliquaries. These are paired with portraits of his mother and her father at different points in their lives. Their images are blissfully haunted after being covered in their own ashes in one of many movements towards immateriality.
Death is not elsewhere. It is present throughout the exhibition, employed as a secular and spiritual beginning that comes from confronting the inevitable end.