Mike Kelley | Fortress of Solitude

22 November 2017

From 16/11/2017 - 25/02/2018 at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Stathatos Mansion

Superman had a problem. He couldn’t go home. Although he was endowed with paranormal abilities such as super strength, the power of flight, and invulnerability to any natural or man-made force, he was nonetheless defenseless against the illness of homesickness. Finding himself exiled on Earth, he was an extraterrestrial who couldn’t phone home because his planet Krypton had been blown to bits by an apocalyptic cataclysm. In fact fragments of his old home, known as Kryptonite, would reduce him to a level of childlike helplessness. In Superman’s world, home was a killer. The Los Angeles-based artist Mike Kelley (b. 1954, d. 2012) spent his career trying to get home. Like Superman, however, he came to realize that it was an impossible quest.

Looking at the play between memory and forgetfulness the exhibition Mike Kelley: Fortress of Solitude brings together a range of key works from across the artist’s career in order to reflect on the uncanny condition of psychological homelessness in the contemporary world. Whether using found stuffed animals as emotional effigies of long lost memories of childhood or evoking the psychic homelessness of Superman in the form of Kelley’s reconstructive exploration of the superhero’s shrunken and inaccessible home city of Kandor that he kept in his Fortress of Solitude, we are reminded that no matter how hard we try, we can’t go home.

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