In the exhibition “Cut from Blue Sky”, Talya Feldman explores the thorny histories of racist violence in Germany and mass shootings in the United States. Her interest in these subjects grew out of a personal experience – the artist lived through the attack on the synagogue in Halle, Germany on October 9, 2019 – which also shaped her creative approach as a whole; Feldman is now developing forms of representation that allow victims to be present, instead of focusing, as the media tends to do, on perpetrators and crime scenes, which effectively perpetuates violence. In this way, Feldman’s art seeks to map out a utopian space of healing. Consider After Halle, 2020, a sound installation in which his fellow survivors are heard humming melodies that were sung inside the synagogue during the shooting, comforting both the victims of this trauma and those listening to their stories. “How can we find healing, not just for ourselves, but also for those around us,” Feldman asks, “after enduring such terrible violence?” This is the question that guides his practice.

In her 2020 poem “Obit,” Victoria Chang writes, “If you cut out a rectangle of a perfectly blue sky… It’s heartbreak.” Feldman follows this signal with Mourning is data: Coupé de Blue Sky, 2022, fifteen minimalist oil-on-aluminum panels painted in monochrome shades of blue on which she inscribed names, places and dates: concrete enumerations of mass shooting victims taken from the Gun Violence Archive. Lists will never allow us to truly understand the incomprehensible, but through this gesture, the artist offers us a window through which to grieve and commemorate.

Translated from German by Gerrit Jackson.

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