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Paris-Scope: Louise J Berg

The Reenchantment of Disenchantment Bay

November 15, 2012 — February 9, 2013

In 1792, Spanish explorer Alessandro Malaspina sailed north from California on the Vuelo Nube in search of the secret entrance to the legendary Northwest Passage. Believing he had found it, he sailed deep into an inlet, all the way to Haenke Island before realizing he was headed for a dead end. Bitterly frustrated, he named the area “Disenchantment Bay.” The area has since become a site of contradictory legend among residents of Whitehorse and Juneau.

Having stumbled upon a postcard depicting some fishermen exploring an iceberg in Disenchantment Bay, itinerant artist Louise J. Berg started a multi-year quest to learn about the place, its people, and its stories. Awed by the stark beauty of the environment and intrigued by the symbolism of a bay of disenchantment, she has drawn on her research and on the unyielding wonder of the North to epically transform the Projective City gallery. Berg’s ambitious installation is both a reinvention of the northern landscape and a poetic reenchantment of the natural world. Regenerated etchings of the Aurora Borealis cascade above bottomless icebergs floating uneasily in the gallery-sized pool, while an enormous lodestone struggles to find the north as Berg creates an immersive landscape transcending any particular space, myth, or personal identity.

Berg also uses the name of the place to reference the aporetic notion of disenchantment in general. Max Weber’s description of “the disenchantment of the world,” brought on by the secularizing effects of capitalism, rationalism, and modernity, became a central problematic motif for a generation of European intellectuals. It has, if anything, increased in its importance today. Berg’s evocative work highlights the hope but also the difficulty of seeking magic in an ever-warming, mass-produced universe.

Emerging from several years pursuing independent study in residencies around the world, Louise J. Berg draws from a diverse range of influences including John Hartman, Frederic Stuart Church, Luc Tuymans, David and Diana Wilson, Dexter Sinister, Aarven Koord, and the philosophy of Kant. This is her first exhibition with Projective City.

“These appearances are not things in themselves; they are only representations, which in turn have their object—an object which cannot itself be intuited by us, and which may, therefore, by named the non-empirical, that is, transcendental object=x”
(Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (A Deduction))

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