Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jennifer Moon @ Transmission, until 27 Apr


Unlike her domineering portrait suggests, Jennifer Moon is mild, almost apologetic, in person. As she explains her theories on the unifying potential of love between all people, it's very difficult to imagine that once upon a time she used pepper spray to rob people at ATMs in order to feed her heroin addiction. She freely admits her crime and the story of her subsequent incarceration because it makes her vulnerable, and being vulnerable leads to love.
On the first floor of Transmission are a series of photographs and correspondents from Moon's time in prison that make for a fascinating insight into the U.S. prison system. In the centre of the room are Moon's prison typewriter and a large pile of pamphlets that contain her manifesto for 'revolution.' The downstairs space is arranged as a Boot Camp for Revolutionaries, where the vulnerable artist will make volunteers into a vulnerable audience through a series of trust exercises designed to strip back their beliefs. Through this process they will reach a place of 'abundance.'
It's unusual to find such a cultish recipe for happiness presented through the context of contemporary art. While Moon resists the label of 'irony,' she does admit to her work's playfulness. The result is an excursion into the redemptive quality of love and one artist's attempt to systematise its transformative potential. Sure, it's a little messianic in a way that borrows heavily from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and its honesty alone makes it worth an afternoon's curiosity but not a lifetime's commitment. After all, it's just contemporary art.

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