ESSAY: Theresa Chong in Southwest Contemporary
March 7, 2022 - Laura Neal
At some point in our miraculous and fragile lives, we will lose something or someone. We master the art of losing daily. Even with all of life’s celebrations, breakthroughs, and fresh starts, someone always dies in January. Grief, then, is recursive and our relationship with it is inevitable. So how do we come to terms with grief? How do we manage life knowing there are no sharp distinctions between exits and exists?
When I learned of artist Theresa Chong’s exhibition Duino Elegies at Holly Johnson Gallery in Dallas, I recalled the first time I read Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry book of the same title. Rilke’s collection of ten elegies—written more than 100 years ago while he was a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis at Duino Castle near Trieste, Italy on the Adriatic Sea—is full of outstanding devastation. With the prevailing deaths from COVID-19, blinding insurrections, and ravaging injustice, the Duino Elegies seem sadly and remarkably fitting for our time...
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