Su san Cohn
27th August – 3rd October 2015
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Three moments: Dying, Welcoming, Continuing.
None of these are easy. There is always a struggle when somebody dies, or arrives, or is even just trying to continue. These moments could be said to mark the limits of community: the living and the dead, the in-group and the out-group, the heart of the group itself. Such departures, arrivals and continuations should be recognised, and marked. How can such a gesture be made? Jewellery is more than its materiality, the creation of a beautiful adornment. It is a gift, giving. It can say: I see, I wish I could make it better for you. It recognises pain at the limits and turns it into an exchange, forging an ongoing bond.
First moment: Death is the most common and uncommon of moments. It is almost unbearable. Toe Tag is a way to say goodbye in life beyond life itself; to anticipate and accept the end, to mark it and alleviate its burden. Toe Tag is a talisman, not for death but for life. The end becomes a beginning.
Second moment: A beginning requires a welcome. A child enters a community through birth; a foreigner enters a community as a stranger. Every community has boundaries but must also welcome strangers. To welcome an outsider is to offer true hospitality. To open the gate or the hands, to give a new possibility to the unknown guest, is one of the greatest of gifts. Styx is
jewellery to say welcome, to invite a person without homeland to enter a new home. The goddess Styx was said to have had miraculous powers; the Styx is a magical stick, a message stick with which to negotiate the way into a new community.
Third moment: To be at the very heart of community is not always to be comfortable. The rituals of everyday life may be banal and awful. Keeping calm, continuing through the mundane, can be an extreme experience, where personal suffering is masked and has no public place. Ganbatte jewellery says I see your struggle; know someone is thinking of you.
Susan Cohn, 2015