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Hentai, Your Mom Jokes, and Memes at Bunker Projects in Pittsburgh

Aug 04, 2017 - Sep 02, 2017Bunker Projects, Pittsburgh

As the Fidget Spinner Turns is a two-person exhibition by neo-folk artist Hannah Epstein (AKA hanski) and meme artist/poet Jenson Leonard (Cory in the Abyss,) at Bunker Projects in Pittsburgh. Through mock sculpture, projection, and the traditional craft of rug hooking, both artists explore virtual and physical realities touching on subject matter ranging from Japanese Hentai and Jewish heritage to social activist, bell hooks, and "Your Mom" jokes. Through this iconography, conversation about technology, privilege, and pop-culture; social media and ethics begin to blur on and off screen.

When thinking about folklore, intricate illustrations of fairies and dragons or crumbling hieroglyphics might come to mind. It’s easy to forget that these images were born from very real beliefs and customs of very real societies throughout history. Hannah Epstein is using the folklore in front of us today to create new realities both physically and digitally. Through rug hooking, Epstein contrasts iconic imagery in lush fibers and vibrant colors. She manifests, manipulates, and remixes these references, and acknowledges the impact of the images we see and live with today, which will be legends of tomorrow.

Leonard’s sculptures of DVD/CD cases and 90s hip-hop t-shirts take on a Duchampian point of view when his digitally-created images are satirically transformed into physical art objects. Meme culture has taken over our screens and some critics consider the act of making them 21st century poetry. Rules and structure begin to form not unlike that of meter, alliteration, or rhyme. By understanding these rules and then breaking them, Leonard’s work will have viewers reconsider what they call a “meme” and the power they hold in society today. ––Fred Blauth