Rochelle Goldberg
Sun Moon Stars

Angel Callander
Mercer Union, Toronto
September 9  –  November 11, 2023
Rochelle GoldbergSun Moon Star, exhibition view, 2023.
Photo: Vuk Dragojevic, courtesy of the artist
Mercer Union, Toronto
September 9  –  November 11, 2023
The desert is a place we tend to think of as a nothingness — an environment so unpleasant and inhospitable, so devoid of the basic tools for survival, that it cannot possibly sustain (human) life. There are, of course, dozens of species of plants, reptiles, birds, insects, and other animals that call the desert home. In Elizabeth Povinelli’s philosophy of “geontopower,” the Desert constitutes one of three figures of late liberal capitalist governance. Geontopower describes the logic of liberal colonialism and its tendency to determine sites of domination: what is considered to be life or non-life; what is worthy of being incorporated and what can be eradicated. The Desert contains the figures, discourses, and strategies for determining life and non-life. Within it, all things are vulnerable to being made, unmade, and remade.

In the work of Rochelle Goldberg, we are encouraged to question the supposed borders between living things and objects through the logic of “intraction,” her own term for destabilizing the complex sets of relations among entities. For Sun Moon Stars, her recent solo exhibition at Mercer Union, Goldberg initiated a renewed reading of the myth of Mary of Egypt (known as the Desert Mother in Eastern Orthodox religions). Cast in bronze from the head of a Marilyn Monroe pin-up doll and her own pregnant body, Goldberg’s Mary of Egypt is an emblem of how to reconfigure agency and to reconsider value as it relates to life and materials of monumentality. Making use of the distinct but elusive figure of the desert, she situates this exploration within a space of chance and opportunity.

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This article also appears in the issue 111 - Tourism

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