At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing
Mueller Family Gallery
Jan 28-Jun 5, 2022
Jerome AB, At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing, 2021 (still). HD Video, Color, Sound, 9 min. Courtesy the artist
Jerome AB’s At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing (2021) is a mixed-media installation, movement video, and soundscape. A case study in surrender, the work consists of an artifact, once buried beneath compounded terrain, now displayed within the museum walls. Its provenance unaccounted for, the 12’ high metal structure operates like a time capsule, nestled in excavated ground. Inside the enclosure is a three-dimensional video file, attempting to relay a psychological unraveling captured in real time. Past glitches of lapsed memories, the video’s subject comes to a road diverged. In one instance, we can choose to find comfort in the cards we have been dealt, to live life on life’s terms. In another, our circumstances can feel like they are closing in on us, with the only option left to fight. What starts as one figure, splits, and fragments into a multiplicity of being. At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing explores the existence of two seemingly opposing truths that can co-exist as one reality.
Set to a deteriorating meditative score, a self-help spiral featuring multi-instrumentalists Eartheater and Jasminfire, AB’s At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing explores what it means to relinquish control and to find courage in faith.
Jerome AB’s At Once Terrifying and Equally Freeing is organized by Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo) as part of Toby’s Prize, a biennial award made possible by Toby Devan Lewis.
About the Artist
Jerome AB (b. 1991, Nairobi, Kenya) is a multidisciplinary artist and creative director based in Los Angeles, CA. Trained as an architect actualized through dance, his work is a translation of movement architecture and spatial choreography. AB’s performance pieces, films, installations, and sonic sculptures are all rooted in creating worlds that represent physical manifestations of psychological landscapes. Reoccurring motifs of exploration include queer futures, ancestral connection, healthy masculinity, and the occasional internet purge. AB has created work for and alongside artists such as Blood Orange, Bobbi Salvor Menuez, Kanye West, Caroline Polachek, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), poet Precious Okoyomon, photographers Paul Sepuya and Michael Bailey-Gates, filmmaker Alima Lee, and Brooklyn-based dance duo FlucT. His work has been featured at institutions such as MoMA PS1, LACMA, National Sawdust, Knockdown Center, Navel, and Lever House as commissioned by Performa.