It will happen when you least expect it.
By Marie-Anne Mancio
Wendy Elia works in series that explore the futile quest for truth. It Will Happen When You Least Expect It is both a threat and a promise. Referring equally to meeting one’s soul mate or facing one’s death, it collates some of the images invading our consciousness. Portable paintings are arranged into arbitrary, non-hierarchical groupings: here a triptych, there a solitary canvas. Their content appears familiar, its origins less so. Was this once a news photograph of hostages or a scene in a Hollywood movie that recreates or foresees the same event? Some are iconic - Orson Welles, the Twin Towers - others vie to become so.
In these juxtapositions, they invite us to re-visit postmodernism: Derrida claimed if we had understood we had misunderstood; Baudrillard provoked us with the assertion the gulf war never happened; we were consumed by the society of spectacle where images proliferated virally and news and entertainment disintegrated into infotainment. Nothing was real except the hyperreal. And in this expanding digital and virtual world, we chatted, zipped, downloaded, uploaded, and photoshopped our way into re-negotiating found images and making a production of them. It Will Happen When You Least Expect It asks if, in the enjoyment of the ironic, we have forgotten how to feel.
© Marie-Anne Mancio 2009