True to her symbolistic style, Claire Fontaine hold us responsible for our actions in her newest exhibit, Some Redemptions. Some art is to be looked at as a big picture, while some is to be looked at with striking attention to detail. Some Redemptions is somewhere in the middle. Trash bags filled with empty aluminum cans are suspended in the air and give off a powerful presence as you look at the room. In the corner you will notice what Fontaine coined as a “DIY Aluminum Smelter”, which contains a modified helium cylinder and gasoline can, cocktail shaker, homemade crucible, two butane bottles, iron pipe, stoker, yellow extension cord, plastic piping, gas cap, fan, lighter fuel, two fire bricks, charcoal and some melted aluminum.
In the middle of the floor lay twenty-five aluminum ingots. In comparison with the light, colorful empty aluminum cans these ingots are dense, solid, and grey. Together, the bars weigh two hundred pounds.
Lastly, you will see a note on the wall: a ten-dollar bill folded in a way that the bottom of the bill reads, “tears”.
“For the redeemed mankind the totality of the past is quotable and nothing is lost for history. Redemption is depicted there as the full ownership and accessibility of history by everyone, and this accessibility to one’s and everybody’s destiny takes place under the sign of happiness. But this happiness isn’t a new one, it’s the familiar joy and fulfilment we are used to, that comes from habits, repetition, recycling, as we can read beforehand in the same text: “the kind of happiness that could arouse envy in us exists only in the air we have breathed, among people we could have talked to, women who could have given themselves to us. In other words, our image of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the image of redemption.” – Thesis on the Concept of History, Walter Benjamin
— Garrett Nickell