My MFA show came down on Thursday. I'm not a kid with no sense of self-definition; I have a life, I have lots of projects that are ongoing, lots of things to do. It should have been no big deal.
It wasn't no big deal. I'm violently sad.
I'm thinking about the potential reasons ... one person suggested it was "loss of community," but that doesn't seem to resonnate. I was basically isolated the last eight months or so anyway. The people who were my community during that time still are, and will continue to be.
Another person thought maybe it was because "you don't know when you'll have another solo show," but that's not the case either, because my next solo show is already set for December.
I got other thoughts from other people, all similarly off-the-mark. So I'm trying to sort through this myself.
Here is what I've come up with so far:
Due to my crappy life circumstances over the last few months, the show took on extra meaning for me, became very special and became something of a safe place. It was one thing I knew I could control, and was the one thing in the whirlwind of crap going on in my life that I knew was really and truly representative of me, the real me, the core of me, the me that will still be there when all the drama subsides. There was also a romantic element to it, it felt really wonderful and fulfilling to see people actually engaging with my work, whether they "got it" or not, whether they even liked it or not.
Taking the show down meant removing that reminder of self, and also taking away that wonderful opportunity I had to do what really felt like offering love to the people who passed through...taking away also the opportunity for me to enjoy them accepting the gift, holding it, embracing it.
There were also people to whom I wanted to offer that gift, the gift of my work, of my seeing, who did not pass through the gallery over the last three weeks, for whatever reason. And the thought that they in a sense rejected this offering, this gift, is painful and saddens me. I don't understand why someone I had worked with extensively, for example, or someone I considered a friend, could simply choose not to come and see what really represented the culmination of three years of sometimes very difficult, very painful struggle, simply because they were tired or busy or just couldn't find room for it across three solid weeks of display ... well. You see what I mean.
This persistent sadness. I don't know quite what to do with it.