SHERRY MCLANE ALEJOS, CJ CONWAY, KAORI KATO, ALANNA LORENZON, NICK WADDELL
Sherry McLane Alejos (AUS/MEXICO), CJ Conway (AUS/US), Kaori Kato (AUS/JAPAN), Alanna Lorenzon (AUS), Nick Waddell(AUS)
Mercy Street curated by Anusha Kenny was presented as part of Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (GCAS) and Next Wave Festival’s 2010 Emerging Curators program.
Mercy Street broke apart the concept of ‘mercy’ exploring the conflicting forces of frustration, failure and forgiveness that are embedded within it. Approaching the concept from a legal perspective the works in this exhibition highlighted the ways that these often amorphous, fluid concepts are formalised through public decision-making and ideas of justice.
The exhibition takes its title from Anne Sexton’s poem 45 Mercy Street, which explores the conflict embedded within ideas of mercy from a personal perspective. This exhibition identified how these concerns operate both inside and outside the law, shadowing personal as well as public relationships. Mercy Street explored how private understandings of mercy affect public decision-making and are formalised through the legal process.
Mercy Street featured work by five artists who are distinguished by their acute awareness of the precariousness of ethics and morality. This awareness is inscribed heavily in their works and is made manifest through aesthetic fragility, constant motion, and intermittence. In contrast to the blunt finality of legislation, the works in the exhibition formalized emotion and addressed human frailty with compassion and flexibility. Ultimately, the exhibition was an elegy to those who have been able to show grace when revenge would be just as appropriate.