Murray Gaylard / There’s no place like home (or at least a place that resembles it)
10. May 2009 to 21. June 2009
Opening Saturday, May 9, 2009, 5 to 8 pm
curated by Elke Gruhn and Katharina Klara Jung
„The performance documentation (Untitled, 2009) deals with being outside of the home, of being displaced and tries to re-examine what home is and the extent to which our own identities are bound to it.
In a world that lives in transit, airport lounges, in exile, where the marks of immigration can be witnessed on every street corner and where cellular communication enables us to
position our “private” directly into the public, home is perhaps only the psychological space that we carry with us wherever we go. It would seem to me that we are moving into a state of all
becoming perma nent outsiders (or insiders – depending on your point of view). What does it mean to have a sense of „belonging“ and how many of us have a place that gives us this? Perhaps those days are now gone,
in a world that refuses to stand still.
Once-a-week, a maintenance team cleans the stairways and corridors of the building in which I live. Upon doing so, they place the doormats upright against the walls so as to allow the floors to dry. When I come home before my neighbour, I place both my doormat and his back where they belong, but when he returns, he places only his own doormat in front of his door, leaving mine standing against the wall.
I saw it as a kind of a social experiment in response to the ever-increasing cocooning of our society. For almost 9 months, I continued to place both the mats down, in the hope that he would “learn” from my behaviour how to show a sense of neighbourly love. But no, nothing helped. I realised that although only 30 cm separated me in my bathroom from him in his kitchen, I could not force him to acknowledge me. So I took our doormats and sewed them together, side-by-side, as neighbours are (Neighbours, 2007). He never did question what I had done, although I did leave a note as an invitation that he approach me for clarification on the matter. Perhaps one day Mr. …??? What was his name again?
I have always been fascinated by human behaviour. As a child, I would sit on the rocks while the other kids played on the beach – simply watching. This fascination followed me into my adult years, where I went on to study social sciences. I realised quickly that the human experience is really something magically playful and not something to be taken too seriously. Prescribed codes of conduct, dos and don’ts, social and cultural norms, stereotyping in all of its forms and the taboos that prevent us from simply doing what it is we really want – this is my vocabulary, and this is the starting point of all of my work. At the end of the day the greatest weapon we have in this world of interpersonal relations, is the ability to laugh at ourselves! For what is left, if we lose that? So forgive me if my work seems naive, or silly. I’m still trying to figure out this whole humanity thing. I hope I never do.“
Murray Gaylard, *1974, lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.
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