The Vale of Avernus


digital print on metallic paper with kirigami, 99 x 33"
exhibition view: AVALANCHE! ICA, Calgary, 2015

“‘Foundling rocks, stars, black and full of language: named after an oath silenced to pieces.’
(poetry fragment recovered and translated from a letter written by Paul Celan)

The absence of a name is a deeper kind of dark. What abiding structures underlie the things we’ve previously understood only by naming them? In AVALANCHE’s exhibition Cremated Names, Miruna Dragan excavates the hollows of analytical comprehension, articulating images that are at once vacuous and flooded with significance. Immensities formerly invisible, sunk into the ground, range in scale from lightbox depictions of engulfing caverns to the replication of infinitesimal ionic salt patterns writ large on the wall. The identifiably human dimensions of a grave define the rectilinear plane Dragan has chosen as the surface upon which she develops her complex imagery, an artistic choice so indirect as to be latently poignant. To descend the stairs represented by the artist’s finely-cut kirigami, is to pursue an orphic journey, fingers grasping blindly along the numinous edge. Currents of meaning course below their ghost-like signifiers... it is this chthonic glimmer for which Dragan mines.”
— Jenna Swift (writer and artist)