Portfolio > Burning Oneself Out

Tiger Strikes Asteroid CHI / Jaclyn Jacunski: Burning Oneself Out
Photos by Tom Van Eynde

From Here, 2018
Laser Cut Acrylic Mirror, Plywood Wall installation 6 ‘x 10 1/2’
Burned Out
Laser Cut Acrylic Mirror Wall assembly
Approx. 3’x 8’, variable
Over It
Laser Cut Acrylic Mirror, Canvas
46”x 38.5”
Selective Information
Laser Cut Acrylic Mirror, Steel Metal
Yesterday's Today
Acrylic, Papier Mache, New York Times, from 2020
Layer Cut Mirror Acrylic
2, 4”x 7”x 5”

Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago (TSA Chi)
Burning Oneself Out

Jaclyn Jacunski: Burning Oneself Out
May 15 – June 26, 2021

Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by Jaclyn Jacunski that will run from May 15 through June 26, 2021.

The title of this exhibition, Burning Oneself Out, comes from a poem by the lesbian feminist, Adrienne Rich. The poet writes of staring intensely into a flame, perceiving that it gives its all until it is no more, as she considers how inspiration and personal power stem from the need to both create and rebel.

Jaclyn Jacunski’s work engages with similar themes as she grapples with changing perceptions of truth. In this installation, mirrors laser-cut with a chain-link pattern reference the limitations of our relationships to space and to one another, upsetting viewers’ expectations of a single image as their reflections are subtly rearranged. Light refracts off the mirrors across the room with the awe of sublime disco light, as piles of The New York Times from 2020 and 2021, annotated with deletions, edits, and erasures, litter the floor.

The installation responds to the past year of uncertainty and the attendant desires to secure and to stabilize since the pandemic began. Through the rendering of slight discomforts, the work reveals the contradictions and uncertainties of our complex entanglements with broken systems and institutions. Jacunski responds to a public life in which citizens and authority watch each other with omnipresent gazes, through an ever-increasing number of lenses, creating a blur of views, voices, evidence, surveillance, and propaganda—how can we discern truth through this complex amalgam of facts, fictions, and partial truths? How does one remain whole? The reflection of the mirrors invites reflection by viewers and suggests that by moving beyond our perceptual expectations, we might find wholeness and repair.

To “burn out” refers to emotional and mental exhaustion, whereas “burning oneself out” implies the choice to draw internally on one’s own raw power. This exhibition celebrates the burning of an ancient fire within that has been passed on by the ancestors for inspiration to create, empower, and purify.

* * *
Burning Oneself Out
by Adrienne Rich

We can look into the stove tonight
as into a mirror, yes,
the serrated log, the yellow-blue gaseous core
the crimson-flittered grey ash, yes.
I know inside my eyelids
and underneath my skin
Time takes hold of us like a draft
upward, drawing at the heats
in the belly, in the brain
You told me of setting your hand
into the print of a long-dead Indian
and for a moment, I knew that hand,
that print, that rock,
the sun producing powerful dreams
A word can do this
or, as tonight, the mirror of the fire
of my mind, burning as if it could go on
burning itself, burning down
feeding on everything
till there is nothing in life
that has not fed that fire