I look back – not just on 2016 but further still – with a sense of atonement: what injustices do I have to account for? What wrongs have I failed to right? What ruptures did I precipitate or influence negatively? In contrast, the artist Capucine Gros looks forward with gratitude: what gestures made a difference to her outlook? Who has had a positive impact? What experiences have enriched her understanding? Perhaps the disparity of perspective is due to a difference in age as well as a distinction between optimism dwindling or spilling out in abundance.
Even so, the gracious appreciation expressed by this artist’s work – executed in equal measure material, conceptual, and participatory processes – and the way she glides through the world with awareness of and respect for the presence of others leaves its mark, lightening one’s psychological load, propelling a desire to attempt at least one more courageous act by making a connection with someone no matter where in the world (it is expansive after all and in great need of attention everywhere).
Just riding a bicycle could make a difference…who can know? Who dares to judge? For being precedes action and requires the acceptance of both cruelty and kindness, achievement and failure. This is the paradox of forgiveness: atonement yielding to the courage to continue – even find pleasure in – the struggle for social justice. For Capucine Gros, it’s about finding strategies of engagement. May we all find gratitude and courage in abundance in 2017. There’s lots to do. And to my readers: thank you!
[Capucine Gros was recently included in a group exhibition Between Senses at Gallery House, 272 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, sponsored by the MiA Art Collective.]