Never Fight The Current
LENA MARIE EMRICH
NEVER FIGHT THE CURRENT
October 09 – 29, 2021
Saturday, October 09, 12 – 6 pm
The tide rises, the current swells, the waves crash and break. Underwater, eyes closed.
There are moments in life that force a pause, wanted or not. Standing in line at the airport, overwhelmed with anxiety about a suitcase exceeding that cheap airline’s size limitations. Sitting in the car in the automated wash, gear in neutral, waiting for streams of water to power the suds away. Taking an elevator up two, four, six, twelve flights, fidgeting until the doors once again open. The world keeps moving, but we’re at a forced standstill.
Instead of troubling ourselves about wasted time, what if we were to use these moments as incitements for taking deep, necessary breaths? In “Never Fight the Current, ” Lena Marie Emrich proposes exactly this, visualizing the moments where in order to remain in motion we must first take a break.
Car windows are engraved with dripping water marks that twist and turn to form words. These words are illuminated, the inscriptions’ shadows cast upon the wall. Slow down and take a concentrated look: Is the shadow real or a sticker beneath the glass? Is the word a mere figment of our imagination? Take a step Through the Looking-Glass.
Here, on the other side, a tinted window from a VW car can be seen as prompting us to move on, while the pattern of water dually alludes to what, back in Reality, Zygmunt Bauman deems modern liquid life. “Liquid life is a precarious life, ” Bauman writes, “lived under conditions of constant uncertainty. […] Liquid life is a succession of new beginnings.” Complications arise due to material attachments and our selves undergoing the process of objectification. It’s time to move on, and from our perspective behind the looking glass, we realize not necessarily in a physical sense, but perhaps in a more metaphysical way. And perhaps more than moving on, we must also let go. Moreover, don’t let go only for the sake of letting go; let go graciously.
In the series “Rules don’t apply to me, ” once rigid boxes are also transformed into chameleonic, open-ended forms, ready to adapt to our own projections. What might fit was but a material question of liquid life, of Reality. No longer is the question about whether our luggage fits inside the box of constraints, but rather about what it contains, where it is from, where it might be going.
With these new bodies of work, Emrich points toward micro-pauses experienced in everyday liquid life, micro-pauses that are forced while the water keeps flowing, making manifest the seconds between here and there, between now and then. She proposes them as ways to step through the looking glass into whatever might become of this new normal. So, as we consider the months of slowness behind us and those that might still loom ahead, remember to think about those that will always haunt us, too. But instead of drowning, it’s time to willfully submerge ourselves within the water. To open our eyes. To remember salt water doesn’t sting. And then, when the moment comes, to rise to the surface and gently inhale.
Text: Emily McDermott