Tag: Jean Dubuffet

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Carol Bruns’s aesthetic moralism

Contributed by Gwenaël Kerlidou / Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella, is one of the first fictionalized accounts of the ravages of European colonialism in Africa. Marlow, the narrator, while surveying the grounds of an ivory collecting station on the Congo River, catches sight of a row of shriveled heads mounted on stakes. The episode segues to a deeper exploration of the psyche of Kurtz, a terminally ill but very successful ivory harvester working for the king of Belgium. His cryptic last words – “the horror, the horror” – sum up the situation. The title and content of Conrad’s novella reverberates through Carol Bruns’s current exhibition at White Columns of mostly monochromatic frontal sculptures, in which the human figure is omnipresent, either as hieratic totems or as ritual masks. Scattered in the gallery space, an unruly mob of chimeras and other nightmarish characters seems to be stoically harboring the scars, wrinkles, creases, and other traces of immemorable sufferings.