Municipal Bonds is delighted to present Solange Roberdeau's Night Sky Over the Taos Mesa, in Minnesota Street Project's group exhibition Monument.
"When I think about monuments, I think of static cultural remembrances. A human, a projection, an agenda. A memorialization of a cultural story that has been passed down and frozen, stamped onto the psyches of generation after generation, and also onto the land.
Elizabeth Bishop's poem "The Monument" points to something different. It simultaneously describes an object and an idea in flux. It speaks to the beginning of something that has characteristics of adornment and of weathering from age. If there is an agenda behind this monument it is unclear, while the material that it is made from is distinct-more ephemeral than marble, granite, or steel-it is wood.
Cultures that produce monuments do so to make a mark on the landscape and in time; to assert remembrances, control, or dominance, clinging to an idea of permanence through towering figurations. Bishop's monument does not point its viewer to a person, an event or a story to commemorate. Instead it is an invitation to ask questions about meaning, history, intention, or material.
I made Night Sky Over the Taos Mesa during August of 2018, while staying alone on the Taos Plateau in a little cabin a stone's throw from the Rio Grande Gorge, a crack that runs through the landscape 800 feet deep and 1,280 feet long. During the monsoon season in Northern New Mexico, each afternoon is punctuated by a torrential rainstorm that clears the heat and activates the smells of petrichor, yarrow, chamiso, juniper, piñon, and the prolific artemisia tridentata or big sage. The night sky that follows is expansive and luminous with limited light pollution to dim out its details.
For me, Night Sky… is a drawing about immensity, wonder, and perceptual movement in nature. It was drawn in a place that is inherently visceral and holistically monumental. We should commemorate the expansive beauty in the movements of the stars that help us remember our scale, and the vibrant matter swirling outside of our human perspectives that points to how little understanding of, or control over, any of this we actually have."
- Solange Roberdeau for the exhibition Monument, a Minnesota Street Project Group Show