“Bardo” is a work about the suspension of the physical condition, a grasp at the bodily experience of the lived-in moment in time, and the absurdity of the situation – no matter how big the balloon is, it will not lift into the air even the smallest dog; also, the balloon is suspended, neither going up nor down (and what goes up must come down!). This is the fixed position, a frozen moment, that is theatrically realised in the unique space of the gallery “apiece”, which reminds the artist of the various Natural History museums that he visited as a child, where objects and creatures that are no longer alive are exhibited, posing for the audience in artificial displays behind the glass partitions, encased in a constructed scene between death and rebirth.
In the gallery space, the dog figure levitating between the display windows relates to the artist’s personal experience when he was caring for his family dog, named Zen, in his old age, which became a sort of surrogate for the experience of witnessing his father going through palliative care towards the end of his battle with cancer. The space of end of life care feels outside of regular time, it feels like it has slipped between, life on pause: limbo. The constant care of a loved one, whether a parent or a family pet, became not only a part of everyday life, but also a part of his creative work. According to Teal, the experience was not only sad, knowing of the inevitable goodbye, but was also about love and care, dedication and celebration. These themes are recurrent in the artist’s work, while the juxtaposition of pathos, absurdity and humour is seen as a strategy (perhaps “heaviness” is most effectively expressed through “lightness”).
Teal Griffin – (b. 1988) is a London-born artist whose practice takes shape through a multidisciplinary process of bricolage. Working with sculpture, painting, video, text and spoken word, he makes installations that hover in the quiet pockets of listening and waiting, where the small and still become political tools.
He completed a MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths in 2018.
Curators of the exhibition: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė
Graphic designer: Marek Voida