Jeremiah Day  |  The Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness

February 27 - April 4, 2015

Arratia Beer is pleased to present Jeremiah Day’s first solo exhibition in Germany, The Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness.

Jeremiah Day’s practice integrates photography and an improvisational, moving/talking performance method into an idiosyncratic and personal mode of description. The historical and the political are transmitted through embodiment, incarnation and encounters with sites of memory.

Part epitaph, part ode, part investigation, The Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness draws together years of research and studio performance into an anti-monument, chronicling the example of US Senator Frank Church, remembered only by activists for his work documenting the secret histories of US politics during the Cold War. A widely forgotten figure, Church’s name has resurfaced to public attention in the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden. In the 1970’s Church led a series of investigations into the political practices of the United States, including the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr, assassination plots of foreign political leaders, and the development of mass surveillance.

The title of this work is taken from the name of a wilderness reserve in Idaho, named in honor of United States Senator Frank Church, who had ironically used those exact words to warn of crossing over a “bridge of no return,” and this word play becomes the point of departure and hinge for Day’s evocation of Church, his investigation and his subsequent failed Presidential run. The Wilderness, the largest undeveloped area in the lower 48 States, is so vast that forest fires are allowed to take their course, leaving huge areas burned out.

A single-channel video interweaves archival footage of Church speaking, with fragments of Day performing in the studio, and is juxtaposed with a large mural painting and series of color photographs depicting the Wilderness. Combined with original artifacts from Church’s Presidential run, gifts made to Day in a spirit of comraderie by the Church archive in Idaho, the installation itself becomes a performative gesture.

Through a combination of physical scale, and narrative content, the piece attempts to take up the tradition of French history painting, in which art achieves political relevancy through dramatization and metaphor.The Frank Church - River of No Return Wilderness was originally produced in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam as part of their 2012 reopening exhibition and was subsequently presented at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris.

Visual artist, Jeremiah Day also trained in movement, working regularly with the pioneer of postmodern dance Simone Forti. His work establishes a montage narrative form, where political and personal realities intertwine through different techniques, including photography, video and movement.

The video features the contribution of Day’s long time musical collaborator Bart de Kroon, an Utrecht-based singer-songwriter who also possesses degrees in Psychology and Genocide Studies.

Jeremiah Day (1974, USA) graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended the Rjiksakademie de Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include: “Nonfictions” with Fred Dewey and Simone Forti at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, “The Promise” at Arnolfini, Bristol, and 2014 Liverpool Biennial.


Click here for the German press release