You Cannot Kill What is Already Dead
Doris McCarthy Gallery
October 31, 2013 – January 25, 2014
You Cannot Kill What Is Already Dead featured works that are based on the apocalyptic and the undead – while the artists’ approaches may sometimes be humorous, the works are rooted in dread and panic.
Of particular focus within the exhibition was an exploration of the zombie phenomenon, a fascination understood to be based on the way zombies speak to wider social, cultural and political anxieties.
The undead are the perfect metaphoric framing device to critique everything from capitalist structures to racism to gender-based politics. They provide a visceral form onto which anything that evokes de-individualization on an epidemic scale can be projected, rallying against compliancy by illustrating the abjectness of conformity. At the same time, zombies represent an outlet for apocalypse-based fear. Terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks and threats of nuclear war have spawned real concerns. Zombie narratives resonate not only with their depiction of chaos and terror, but also in the way they address survival and humanism.
Through their works – presented in a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, embroidery, video, collage, drawing and social media – the artists in You Cannot Kill What Is Already Dead examine these wider issues as they create their own accounts of an uncertain present or a frightful future.