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"Hirsute Drosscapes and Cenotaphs: (Finem Respice)"
Alyssa Taylor Wendt

  • Project Space 613 Allen Street Austin, TX, 78702 United States (map)

Ruin enthusiasm runs rampant through artistic communities. Our artists, after all, hold a proud tradition and responsibility for pioneering unwanted lands and forging new territories and vistas into otherwise discarded cultural architecture. The magic that modern culture uses to bring structure back from the dead hovers in a careful purgatory, serving both as reminders of the past and projecting us into the future. At what point do ruins become monuments and vice-versa?

In her new installation and participatory performance, Alyssa Taylor Wendt revisits tropes of urban decay, monument and mourning with a multimedia installation in the main space, using a variety of materials, including horsehair. Building large forms that need to be negotiated with, she asks us to consider the materials at hand and question their place as signifiers of both ruin and rebirth. Hairwork has been used to remind us of both the mortality within the very matter of its dead follicles, and the magical living essence of the natural world it hails from and celebrates.

The viewer will have the opportunity to participate in a live ongoing afternoon performance, in which the artist, on leave from her native New York City, will be working on a community hair wreath in the outdoor space at Co-Lab Projects. One can leave a sample clipping of his or her hair in a baggie, with the option to write something personal on a scrap of paper. The artist will use the donated hair pieces and paper to construct a living memorial wreath of hair, binding together strangers on the common grounds that they have an interest in conceptual art. The finished piece will be added to the installation and on view in its final form during the Saturday closing reception.

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