Suicide Pavilions Simon Esling and Clara Chon
Suicide Pavilions is a collaborative exhibition of new work between Auckland-based artists Simon Esling and Clara Chon comprising works on paper, a photograph, printed suicide notes and objects. The suicide pavilions themselves are delicate watercolour, ink, and pencil works on paper depicting contemplative spaces for those who harbour the thought of suicide. Central to these pieces is the idea spoken by the protagonist, Harry, in Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, ‘that to call suicides only those who actually destroy themselves is false’. Instead, it is the tension within the deliberation of suicide - the avoidance of suicide while holding the thought of it - that Esling and Chon have chosen to explore.
The architectural atmosphere of Esling’s imagined illustrations plays on the contrasting aspects of the interior and exterior, and their accompanying structural connotations: lightness, darkness - the flow from one place to another (from one state of mind to the next), as well as their ability to elicit a general ambience or mood. In the drawings and suicide notes (which are both real and imagined) Esling captures those fleeting moments of relief, and inevitably, of falling shadow.
The selected sculptural objects suggest something more visceral - they become the tangible points for the physical expression of the psychological friction of the suicide. With its requisite holes and straps, Chon’s crafted leather harness speaks to both the freedom and restraint inherent in the mind of the suicide, where a simultaneous desire exists to be freed from one world, yet remain in it.
15 May 2012: Artist Discussion with Clara Chon and Simon Esling.
Clara Chon graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2011 and has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2005. Simon Esling graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2005. He was the 1st Runner Up in the 19th Annual Wallace Awards in 2010 and the winner of Supreme Award Waikato Society of Arts New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award in 2007.