The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

March 11, 2007, to June 17, 2007 |

Dario Robleto: Chrysanthemum Anthems

Dario Robleto's exhibition Chrysanthemum Anthems focuses on symbols of grief and mourning connected to soldiers of war. The works in the exhibition inventively integrate the ephemeral by-products of past wars excavated shrapnel and bullet lead, soldiers' uniforms, telegrams and love letters home, mourning clothing, and hair lockets—and harken back to the aesthetics of material culture in antebellum-era America.

Coming at the end of a trilogy of exhibitions based upon the experiences of an anonymous, time-traveling soldier, Robleto's newest work brings the soldier home to encounter the ramifications of war upon the family. Robleto asks us to imagine how, over time, the missing soldier, symbolized by the work The Button Collector, served as an inspiration for his counterpart—a waiting wife, a sister, a mother, symbolized by A Soul Waits for A Body That Never Arrives to produce the objects in the exhibition. This idea of healing and redemption through creative production is recognized through the form and content of the works and, also, through the artist's own process of making.

Integral to the work, and equally as important, is the list of materials that accompanies each work on the wall label. Robleto writes this list ahead of making each work, using each one as a "sketch" or condensed literary form of the work.

To enter Robleto's world is to understand that "everything is made from something," and that all of this, on a molecular level, persists throughout time, even as it mutates over the years. The artist's extreme care and craftsmanship makes his work convincing as actual artifacts. But Robleto's intention is neither to deceive us nor to evoke nostalgia; rather, it is to insist upon and reinforce the vital relevance of the past to the present, and to our future.

- Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions, Weatherspoon Art Museum