The American artist Glenn Kaino recently visited Ferguson, Missouri—the town torn by protests after a white police officer killed Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on 9 August—for a work he is due to unveil this weekend at his first solo show at the Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago.
“Over the past two years, I’ve been collecting rocks from different parts of the world, from different warzones and protest zones,” Kaino tells The Art Newspaper, adding that the show will include stones from China, Afghanistan and Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the central site of Egypt’s recent revolution. Kaino now also has one from Ferguson, which he visited for two days while travelling to St. Louis for the opening of another exhibition. “I wasn’t [in Ferguson] as an agent,” Kaino says. “I was just listening and learning.”
Kaino says his sculptures stand in for larger issues. “I’m interested in the spaces between understanding,” he says. “There is a local understanding of what Ferguson has come to mean, and now there is also a national and international meaning. But I’m not trying to come to any conclusions. My role is to ask questions.”
The title of the show, “Leviathan”, takes its name from a treatise by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes on society’s control over the nature of man. According to the gallery, the show “introduces a series of new work that explores the precarious balance that holds structures and ideas in place through a visual language built on poetics”. It is on view at Kavi Gupta’s new space on 219 N Elizabeth Street, 19 September-20 December 2014