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'Retrospect 1996-2019' by Kaspars Groševs at darkZone, New Jersey

This room is full of light. The wallpaper has been peeled away to reveal broad swatches of aged yellow paste. There’s a beauty in the residual glue turned shabby patina; it could almost look expensive. Drawings and paintings are piled on top of each other, dangling from the walls in precarious arrangements and clusters with only the odd piece of tape or paperclip holding them together. Each work is directly and literally supported by its connection to the one next to it. A rhythm of personal photographs of Groshevs from his youth playing in bands and hanging out with his friends permeates the current of drawings, paintings and assemblages. Time is not linear here, it is compressed, shuffled and altered as works from over two decades of the artist’s life are hung edge to edge. This daisy chain of artistic experimentation and personal growth sprouts across the walls of this small basement room like a colorful mold. While three of the walls are heavy with work, the fourth wall is left mostly bare, with a door at either end and some carbon paper crudely mimicking a shadow. The blank wall leaves room for our projections; Groshevs has left himself room to grow, or an escape route, or a place for us to visualize a version of the future. Or maybe he is showing us the meaning of abruptness. Some things do not escalate, taper, or sustain. They simply end... 

Over ten years ago I used to spend nights and weekends playing in a mediocre melodeath metal band down here. There were only two of us in the band, and we were hopelessly ambitious with our tastes and aspirations. Over time we learned how to play our instruments together by covering songs and riffing. My bandmate played bass and did vocals and I played the drums. We toiled away figuring out how to write songs that were grim and catchy. Potential members were auditioned constantly, but none could meet our standards. When we couldn’t find a guitarist, my bandmate just decided to teach himself guitar. I started to resent him for his musical talent. But that’s how we kept at it for years, a band of two in a basement in NJ. 

The basement walls absorbed the harsh noise and our adolescent brand of co-dependency. On some level we were happy but wanted more than we could accomplish together. And so, quietly and unofficially, the band just sort of broke up. We stopped talking, and we haven’t been in touch for over ten years. These bittersweet memories are circulated in the dense basement fog ad nauseum. 

29.2.2020

darkZone

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