MATTHEW MOORE: POST-SOCIALIST LANDSCAPES
October 16–November17th, 2023
Artists' Reception: Saturday, October 21, 4-6 pm
Post-Socialist Landscapes is an exploration of memory sites in countries that were at one time occupied by the Soviet Union. The photographs in this project fall into two main groups. One set of images depicts the exact location where statues of Lenin and Stalin once stood. These photographs seem to portray obscure public squares or city parks, but to many local inhabitants, these spaces are still charged with an ominous presence. In some cases, the absence of the statue is more obvious, while in others the local government has gone to great lengths to transform the space. A second group of photographs focuses on the fate of the discarded communist monuments that once stood throughout Europe’s Eastern Bloc states. Today they can be found stored behind buildings or gathered in private parks. Placed safely away from public view, their power to intimidate has been stripped from them. Together, these two groups of photographs speak to the way local governments and municipalities control historical narratives through the manipulation of public and private space. While some societies go to great lengths to eradicate the unwanted reminders of their past, others are willing to let them slowly disintegrate. Some communities even leave purposeful reminders of a painful past in an attempt to keep history from repeating itself. Regardless of the strategy, the evidence of our past is recorded in the landscape. Each new layer of information tells an important story about the way history, and even memory, are shaped by human intervention. This project also calls attention to the process happening in the U.S. and elsewhere with regards to the removal of monuments that propagate false histories. By looking at how societies in Europe have dealt with this issue more than thirty years after the fall of communism, the project sheds light on how other communities might deal with their own uncomfortable legacies.
LIFE ON HOLD
January 23-March 3, 2023
Featuring artworks made by women incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, through a collaboration with NDMU students, faculty, and staff. Led and curated by Casey McKeel.