Adam Helms
Rising Down

Rising Down
2007
Inkjet prints
10 1/2 x 6 1/2 feet
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January 27 - February 24, 2007


Sister is pleased to present “Rising Down,” an exhibition by Adam Helms.

With conceptual and formal ties to an assemblage of source material—photojournalism of contemporary conflict, war films, political propaganda, 19th century American art of the frontier and heraldry, Helms "pictures" the ethos of violence, the romanticization of extremist ideology, and links issues from our political past with contemporary events.

The images in "Rising Down", a large assemblage are collected from the internet and books, dealing with displays of dead outlaws, guerrillas, terrorists after they were killed and displayed for public consumption. Helms has arranged them in such a way that demonstrates the similarities in some formal aspects of the images, as well the likeness displayed in some of the differing individuals. All are from different eras, yet are all alike in the moribund way they display the violent end of individuals who fought against and terrorized civil or dominant societies.

On opposing walls of the gallery are two arrangements of six ink on mylar portraits of masks, balaclavas and hoods. The grids of masks demonstrate the similarity of these cloaked appearances and their usefulness as a symbols of sheathed identities, projecting fear and violence as an instrument of the subversive agendas of paramilitary, guerrilla and terrorist groups.

By seeing varying time periods and symbols displayed, a sense of the past and the present exist at once, demonstrating continuing examples of brutality and fear. The end of dreams and violence, photographs of bloodied corpses display an ethos of victory and the death of the bogeymen.

The title of the show is borrowed from William Vollmann’s obsessive treatise on violence, “Rising Up, Rising Down.” Vollmann hypothesizes that events in culture are the result of people “rising up” against their oppressors and the corollary to this is that revolution is always death and destruction or “rising down.”

This is Adam Helms’ second solo show at Sister. Helms has been included in "Greater New York 2005" at PS1, "Ordinary Culture: Heikes/Helms/McMillian" at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as "Bridge Freezes Before Road" at Gladstone Gallery in New York, "Omission" at Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York and this spring will be included in "Kick it til it Breaks," an upcoming group exhibition at The Kitchen, New York and "Phantasmania," a group exhibition at the Kemper Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.