AC [Direct] I and II presents Australian artist Elizabeth Gower’s he loves me, he loves me not along the outer walls of the galleries. The familiar phrase “he loves me, he loves me not” is written 20,097 times symbolizing the number of days Gower calculates she has lived and asked that very question. Written in white chalk directly onto the black walls, this repeated statement is ephemeral and exists only for the duration of the exhibition.
The repetitious process is simultaneously obsessive, cathartic and physically draining much like the continual speculation of whether “he loves me” or “loves me not.” Here the ‘he’ is generic, representing the fathers, brothers, boyfriends, lovers, husbands and sons in a woman’s life, even including her critics, audience, colleagues, bosses, friends and deities. This private exchange of intimacy, removed from a particular speaker/reference, becomes a universal construct or consciousness. Explored with each reiteration and inscription is the transience of language, its instability and capacity to fluctuate. Also within he loves me, he loves me not, a process of synthesis and transformation takes place whereby the concept’s part–the fragment or detail–is integrated to form a transcendent whole.
Between March 6 – 8, 2009, Elizabeth Gower will be featured as a Co-Host of AC [Institute]’s Live in the Limo at the Armory Fair, where he loves me, he loves me not will be referenced in a related performance.
About the Artist
Elizabeth Gower lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, teaches at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and is currently completing a PhD from Monash University (Melbourne). She has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her work has also been chosen for public commissions throughout Australia and is held in collections worldwide including The Australian National Gallery (Canberra) and The National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne). She has received grants and awards from Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Arts Victoria (Melbourne), Alliance Française Art Fellowship, Georges Art Prize as well as multiple grants for residencies abroad from The Australia Council. She is currently Artist-in-residence in New York.
Image courtesy the artist.