Politically-minded artist to visit Ball State

What: First Person: Eric Gottesman and "Fractured Narratives"

When: Thursday, March 26; 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Fine Arts Building recital hall 217

The David Owsley Museum of Art’s “Fractured Narratives: A Strategy to Engage” exhibit contains the work of 14 artists, but only one will be traveling to Ball State.

Eric ­Gottesman, the creator of four pieces featured in the exhibit, will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. on March 26 in recital hall 217 of the Fine Arts Building.

Gottesman is a photographer, artist and organizer. He studied politics, economics and art. In 2003, he was named one of the top 25 young American photographers. According to Gottesman’s website, he uses photography, writing and film to engage people in conversation and thought about the social structures around them.

This goal fits into the theme of “Fractured Narratives.” The exhibit features contemporary art that addresses today’s global issues. The exhibit includes works in mediums such as film, photography, painting, sculpture and sound.

Gottesman’s works featured in “Fractured Narratives” include “I am afraid only your corpse will arrive…Brake!!,” “From the series Rama Tesfaye as Baalue Girma," "Oromaye (Introduction)” and "The Last Days of Baalue Girma, 2013.”

His work is based on his exploration of the Ethiopian novel “Oromaye.” The book, written by Baalu Girma, was a veiled critique of the Derg regime in Ethiopia. 

According to Tania Said, director of education for the David Owsley Museum of Art, the installation in “Fractured Narratives” comprises three interrelated bodies of work: a film that documents the conversion of an Ethiopian actor into the protagonist from “Oromaye,” a series of “documentary” style polaroids depicting Girma writing the novel and larger color photographic prints based on a reenactment of the first chapters of “Oromaye.”

“I love that collectively the photographs and video feels like a documentary unfolding before your eyes, and as you ride that piece of the story together they feel wistful, ominous and very tense,” Said said. “In addition, his work introduced me to the cultural and political life of Ethiopia, of which I previously knew very little. Now when the complete English translation of ‘Oromaye’ by Baalu Girma is released, I will want to read it. The world feels a little smaller because of his work and the other ‘Fractured Narratives’ artists’ work too.”

While Gottesman is the only featured artist who plans to visit the exhibit, curators Amy Galpin and Abigail Ross Goodman visited in February. Alexander Jarman from the Baltimore Museum of Art will do an “un-tour” of Fractured Narratives in April.

“[Gottesman’s] work expands on the theme of a disrupted narrative and how the story can or cannot continue depending on how we as viewers connect with it,” Said said.

Gottesman will speak about his art featured in the David Owsley Museum of Art’s exhibition “Fractured Narratives” and other projects, including his book “Sudden Flowers.” A book signing will follow the event.

The museum will open one hour prior to Gottesman’s talk.


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