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Artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Death of the Moth” at The Fabric Workshop and Museum

If there’s one thing COVER knows it’s moths. Not gorgeous, blowsy cloud forest moths, but the tiny destroyers of clothes and carpets. Your scribe still mourns her Christopher Farr rug. Carefully folded for a period in storage, it emerged with fist-sized holes.

But moths as a metaphor for life and the survival imperative was expressed by Virginia Woolf in her essay “The Death of the Moth” (published 1942), and more recently American new media artist Jennifer Steinkamp borrows Woolf’s title for her animated time based video exhibition at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia.

Jennifer Steinkamp, Moth 5 (still, detail), 2012, digital projection, dimensions variable, courtesy of ACME, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York

Steinkamp’s video of the gentle movements of the tattered cloth has the desolate look of a curtain in the glass-less window of a long abandoned house. But it also might be a freedom flag for moths. Yes, it’s true. Steinkamp’s work makes your scribe less hostile to the wee beasties.

Describing how she chose her theme, Steinkamp states on her website, “Kippy Stroud invited me to create a piece for The Fabric Workshop. I was at a party with Kippy and observed her killing a tiny moth. I asked her why, she said because they eat fabric. Somehow the image has stuck with me and I created a piece for the dead moth.”

Do view the video on The Fabric Workshop and Museum website, and hold a thought for moths and other wee creatures. DJ

Art, Exhibitions, Installation
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