This proposed installation of works by Chase Westfall explores the concept of control. Stemming from various ‘case studies’, the assembled works examine the dynamics of control in relation to political, ideological, and personal conflict.
In English, the word ‘control’ functions as both a noun and a verb. It can describe the various devices used to influence behavior and the course of events, or the ability to wield said influence to achieve a state of order and authority.
Controls exist in both concrete (physical) and abstract (philosophical) forms. Further, they can be directed inwardly towards the self, or applied outwardly towards others. Control is an element of both the most praiseworthy and the most reprehensible of human activities; on either end of the moral spectrum, control is the product of - or culminates in - a kind of calculated, coordinated efficiency. Thus, control is the shared goal of the musician, cleric, general, bureaucrat, and autocrat.
Blue Barricade - A quintessential example of Westfall’s painting. The work examines the pressure that ideological systems exert on physical existence. When the desires of the body and the demands of ideology do not align, violence often erupts. When it does, the barricade - an improvisational and flexible structure of control - is mobilized, representing the contention between biological and ideological needs.
Untitled (Memorial) - A necklace that replicates the central motif of a decorative fence that exists in Raqqa, Syria. Under ISIS control, this fence has become a site of public execution, a brutal tactic to induce compliance. Borrowing the logic of the Christian Cross, the work proposes a way for the forms of that structure to be reclaimed by the Syrian people and turned towards good - as a symbol of commitment to the revival of Syrian culture and communities.
Control - A new collaborative video work with Eagles of Death Metal drummer, Julian Dorio. Dorio was performing at the Bataclan when the venue was attacked last November. The video is a meditation on musicianship, which requires a focused, empowering form of control that contrasts starkly with the destructive, misguided form of control embedded in terrorist acts. It also speaks to Dorio’s ongoing effort to regain a sense of control in his own life. The work would debut at the fair.
Untitled (Ayvayı Yemek) - A site-specific installation that situates a potted quince tree in a highly demarcated setting. The work is a blend of two separate projects. The first, organized by the Palestinian government, involved systematically numbering debris in Gaza following attacks on the city. The second was the artist Antonio Lopez Garcia’s meticulous yet futile efforts to make a painting of a quince tree, as documented by the film “El Sol del Membrillo.” Both projects expose the human desire to impose order on situations that are beyond control - where destruction has already occurred, or where demise is inevitable.