UNTITLED (UNITED STATES OF US)
white duvet cover and cotton threads
UNTITLED (UNITED STATES OF US)
IS A TORN DUVET COVER, WHICH I RECONSTRUCTED INTO AN AMERICAN FLAG. EMPLOYING A MEDICAL SUTURE STITCH -USED TO SEAL LACERATIONS- I COMBINE THE INTIMATE, BODILY FABRIC OF A WHITE BLANKET WITH A RANGE OF BROWN, COTTON THREADS, TO RECREATE THE UBIQUITOUSLY KNOWN STARS AND STRIPES. THROUGH MATERIALS AND MAKING, I ALLUDE TO INSTITUTIONAL RACISM AS A PAINFUL WOUND IN THE AMERICAN NATIONAL IDENTITY. THE PERFORMATIVE ACTION, INSTRUCTING TWO PEOPLE TO FOLD THE FLAG TOGETHER, PHYSICALLY ENGAGES THE VIEWER, THEREBY MAKING THEM COMPLICIT IN UPHOLDING CERTAIN STRUCTURES, WHILST PROMOTING CONNECTIVITY, CONVERSATION, AND HOPEFULLY HEALING.
UNTITLED (IT’S NOT UGLY, IT'S LIFE OR DEATH)
IS A SERIES OF NINE PILLOW CASES, SEWN FROM THE REMAINING, WHITE DUVET COVER FABRIC. EMBROIDERED WITH THE SAME COTTON SUTURE, ARE QUOTES COLLECTED FROM CERTAIN EUROPEANS VOICING THEIR OPINION ABOUT TRUMP. THEIR OVERSIMPLIFIED STATEMENTS ABOUT U.S. POLITICS ARE DEEPLY JARRING. THE QUOTED INDIVIDUALS UNWILLINGLY SOUND SIMILAR TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS; NORMALIZING AND MINIMIZING THE ACTUAL HARM FUELED BY THE PRESIDENT. BY SUBVERTING THE COMFORT AND SECURITY OF PILLOWS WITH HURTFUL, INFLAMMATORY PROCLAMATIONS, I INVITE VIEWERS TO PONDER HOW EASILY WE CONSTRUCT OPPOSITION, AND FALL INTO “US” VS “THEM” NARRATIVES.
Melanie Teresa Bohrer grew up in Munich, Germany.
She received her MFA in Studio from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
and previously her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design.
She co-owned and co-ran Candor Arts, a publishing company based in
Chicago, IL that specializes in handmade artists books.
She is currently based in Berlin, Germany.
My interest lies in creating artist books in the expanded field—exploring time, texture, place and pace. I like to make work exists in the in-betweens: the interstice that divides generations, the breath that separates my body from yours.
I examine ideas of national, inherited trauma, as well as how history and organized social structures shape and impact our contemporary lives. Physical objects, such as monuments or memorials, paired with ritualistic practices and religious garments that veil the human form, greatly inform my research. I wonder about their impact and presence. Do they function to remind us of our past? How could they promote collective healing? Or instead propagate false ideals?
As a multilingual, I explore ideas of translation, and turn to bookmaking in the expanded field, as well as fibers, to express the emotional implications of living between continents and customs. Both books as well as cloth haptically relate to the hands and body, and function as vessels of inherited information. They are the connective tissue between us all.
I spend a lot of time thinking about:
HOW DO WE CONNECT ACROSS IDENTITIES, LANGUAGES AND OTHER IMPOSED BOUNDARIES?
PROXEMICS OF CRISIS
MOURNING / LOSS
THE PHYSICS OF MORTALITY
THE SPACE BETWEEN
JOINING EMOTIONAL WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY