The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night
Following on the heels of his wonderfully sublime, pseudo-scientific solo exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center, "It Is What It Isn't", we proudly announce the summer opening of Conrad Freiburg's - "The Blind Light, the Pyre of Night". In this exhibit, Freiburg continues to expand on his investigation of what he terms, "the void" - the vast and complex subject matter that for him will likely be an on-going, and perhaps life-long inspiration and pursuit. Freiburg's creative output manifests as a reflection of his interests in Science, Astronomy, Outer Space, Mathematics, Metaphysics, Geometry, Philosophy, Music and Poetry. These subjects guide, organize and influence, both structurally and conceptually, the finely crafted objects and sounds that connect the dots of his essence and the formal objects he makes for this exhibit. Themes of loss, absence and the unknown –the three interconnected, though distinct categories Freiburg has determined make up the void, will pervade in the work on display. Expressed through his fascination with astronomy, the stars, the universe, the heroic astronaut who ventures out into the magnificent unknown with an insatiable curiosity for discovery, as well as Freiburg's never-abating concern with temporality and the life cycle of creation and destruction - all of these elements are central to this exhibits' focus. In the artist's words -"if all of my shows have been songs, this one is a dirge".
Whereas the seven sided heptagon reigned supreme as the dominant shape in the work in the Hyde Park Art Center, the 11 sided undecagon takes center stage in this body of work, starting with the centerpiece of the exhibit – the piece he titles "The Blind Light", which is an acoustical sculpture with eleven sides. Visually, it is meant to reference a space capsule bobbing in the ocean after its landing on earth. Inscribed inside it is the slogan "Like an astronaut dispossessed of her ship." In essence and in practice, it is a performance chamber for musicians to play inside, concealed from the audience who remain outside to circumnavigate the object to look and listen. As each are disconnected from the other, they must rely more heavily on a different set of senses to understand. Sound becomes a new way to see and understand, blindness inside the capsule a new way to hear and relate. In the artist's words – "I am thinking about negation of senses or translation from one sense to another."
Loss is a form of absence, which is a form of death, or simply a certain change in the state of matter moving from one form of energy to another, which therefore means existence, just in a different state. Freiburg gets at these ideas in such pieces as "The Pyre of Night" (which directly connects to "The Blind Light" in that it is a sculptural representation in wood, using mathematical ratios and equivalents to reflect the amount of fuel required for a spaceship to get to the moon) and "Burning Stars", which are sculptural incense burners, based on the undecagon for shape, that will be peppered throughout the gallery. Smoke will emanate from the holes drilled into their aluminum covers in varying shapes of constellations. Looking directly into the stars, or down at the stars, remembering our place within the universe both in life and in death are themes throughout the exhibit as well. But creation, or the translation of these ideas into matter - beautiful art - is both the homage to these ideas and their reason.
Conrad Freiburg, raised in Quincy, Illinois, received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute in 2000. He has shown his work or performed his music in venues throughout the United States and abroad. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being named "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune in 2007. His work has been reviewed numerous times in Time Out, New City, Artnews, Chicago Tribune, Bad at Sports, Chicago Public Radio and others. This marks Freiburg's third solo exhibition at the gallery. He currently works and lives in Chicago.