Similarly, it seems, for the lover’s anxiety: it is the fear of a mourning which has already occurred, at the very origin of love, from the moment when I was first “ravished.” Someone would have to be able to tell me: “Don’t be anxious any more – you’ve already lost [them].”
–Roland Barthes, A Lovers Discourse: Fragments
The discovery of love is always already bound up with its loss. As a new lover once reminded me amidst the fervor of my limerence: “this will end in one of two ways; we will break up, or one of us will die.” To fall in love is to be forced to reckon with what that love may eventually become; a contemptuous phone call, a desperate and unanswered plea, a lonely ride home, a tucked-away shoebox of mementos.
Perhaps it is in the name of repressing what Barthes calls the “lover’s anxiety” that we so rarely explore the terrain of the after-love without redeeming it – that is, without using it as a narrative device for the staging of love’s return. Accordingly, this exhibition wonders what kinds of affects, knowledges, and insights might come to light when we actively work to embrace the scene of defunct loving.
Refusing to submit to the tyranny of optimism that posits love as the cornerstone of the “good life,” without repair revels in the breakdown of bonds and the queer potentialities of losing, spoiling, detaching, and forgetting. Like the expiry date on a fresh carton of milk, love forces us to confront the inevitability of endings – recall Barthes’ amorous sentiment: “nothing works out, but it keeps going on.”
without repair will feature work by: Jon Sasaki, Evelyn Ricky, Karilynn Ming Ho, Tammy Rae Carland, and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay.