The Anagnorisis Project is a curatorial endeavor that aims to explore that curious, indefinable void that is created by the grotesque in visual art. Samantha Levin has been curating exhibitions for this project for the past three years.
“When we use the word “grotesque” we record, among other things, the sense that though our attention has been arrested, our understanding is unsatisfied. Grotesqueries both require and defeat definition: they are neither so regular and rhythmical that they settle easily into our categories, nor so unprecedented that we do not recognize them at all.” Geoffrey Galt Harpham, On the Grotesque
“It is a common usage to call ‘monster’ an unfamiliar concord of dissonant elements: the centaur, the chimera are thus defined for those without understanding. I call ‘monster’ all original inexhaustible beauty” Alfred Jarry, Les Monstres
Much of the work you’ll find in this project is dark, but that is not why it’s grotesque. The grotesque describes a dissonant threshold that lies between what’s understood and what’s senseless; unresolvable and arresting. Samantha believes this resulting cognitive dissonance is a large part of what makes artwork so important. Art opens the mind to allow for new ideas.
The word Anagnorisis (pronounced an-ag-nor-sis) refers to the moment when the hero of a Greek tragedy discovers the truth of his or her situation. Overall it means, “from ignorance to knowledge”. This term aptly describes the ineffable reaction so many have after viewing a mind-opening work of art – a visual anagnorisis, if you will.
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