In the first part of The Object Relation, his fourth seminar, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan introduces the imagery, the function, and the semiotics of a “hydro-electric factory in the middle of the current of a large river” to elaborate on a handful of concepts— among them and of particular interest here: reality and abstraction. Invested in demonstrating a need for a greater understanding of the relations between the symbolic and what we grasp as the physical realm, with the text, the author opens a space for reconsidering the semantic perception of things.
A river can indeed be an object that affords countless allegories beyond its material composition and properties. It is a stream from which, although being a geographic feature, commonly enough instrumentality is offered for other-than- material narratives to be imagined. Yet, in the example given, Lacan focuses on how, on the contrary, the energy accumulated by the water flow through a power plant usually is defined by that solely.
In this debate, he intends to locate the point of analysis of an object such that it can touch a sort of abstract or, as he states, mythical notion of reality. A ground capable of trespassing signifiers like the station mentioned and, instead of ignoring them, negotiating with its emblems. Such symbolism, notably, does not coincide with fantasy. It (rather) acknowledges etymology, materiality, fiction, abstraction, and interpretation as components of reality. Within this territory, energy lies in capital, river, and work, as observed by Lacan, as much as in stillness, pause, silence, and laziness—like, for example, in the ontology introduced by Beyoncé in ENERGY (1).
CRY ME A RIVER brings to Simian a group of artists who, to address spirituality, violence, labor, and institutional critique, amplify the symbolism of objecthood with processes that invest in the sculptural potential of reinterpreting existing things. The exhibition includes works conceived in the last ten years by manuel arturo abreu, James Bantone, Jason Hirata, Deborah-Joyce Holman, Flora Leite, Gabriela Mureb, davi de jesus do nascimento, Yná Kabe Rodríguez Olfenza, Maya Quilolo, Sung Tieu, and Wisrah Villefort.
The title of the show is borrowed from the homonymous song that, although composed and recorded by others before and after (2), was initially written to be sung by Ella Fitzgerald in 1955.
— Wisrah Villefort
(1) See ENERGY (2022) by Beyoncé. https:// genius.com/Beyonce- energy-lyrics
(2) Secondhand Songs lists 647 official recorded versions of Cry Me a River. https:// secondhandsongs. com/work/2158/ versions#nav-entity