I found the source of the problem and cut it out

5 Apr 2019 – 15 May 2019

Event times

Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm

5-50 Gallery

New York, United States


Travel Information

  • 7 subway line to Vernon Blvd / Jackson Ave (one stop from Grand Central Station) and G line to 21st street

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I found the source of the problem and cut it out

The exhibition presents works by artists Tatiana Istomina and Amanda Nedham touching on recent histories involving insoluble moral and psychological dilemmas. 

Istomina’s sculptures, paintings and text pieces are loosely based on the story of Hélène Rytman, who was murdered by her husband, French philosopher Louis Althusser, in 1980. The motive for Hélène’s murder and the exact circumstances of her death are still unknown, but there appears to be a connection between Althusser’s crime and his philosophical ideas concerning the extent of human autonomy and responsibility. Today Althusser remains a respected thinker – his texts written before and after the murder are published and read. Hélène, on the other hand, is forgotten: in death, as in life, she remains an insignificant woman lost in the shadow of her famous husband.

Nedham’s sculptures, paintings and poems examine the story of Dian Fossey – a pioneer primatologist and founder of the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda. Aiming to launch a serious study of gorillas and protect them from illegal hunting, Fossey spent eighteen years working in the jungle. She created a new, gorilla-oriented system of ethics and sometimes committed acts that would be unthinkable within her previously traditional moral landscape. Fossey was brutally murdered with a machete in her cabin in the Virunga Mountains, Rwanda, in 1985; her assailant remains unknown. 

Through subtle, evocative artworks and gestures, the exhibition weaves together the two women’s stories raising tantalizing questions about the extent of human freedom and the limits of morality. Istomina’s fabric sculptures resembling ancient marbles, though strangely soft and misshapen, recast the Althussers’ domestic drama into a timeless tale of a doomed union. Her small paintings probe at the psychological and philosophical complexities of the story, while the text pieces assembled out of clippings from Althusser’s memoir, revisit the scene of the murder from the victim’s own perspective.  Nedham's sculptural still lives operate as offerings to Fossey, attempts to commune with her spirit and to learn what she has to offer after decades of silent rumination. Consisting of domestic objects and hand-painted mosaics, the still lives carve out the space for our encounters with meticulously observed graphite drawings. The drawings feature enigmatic figures and evocative messages, which might have been composed by Fossey herself in the African jungle.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a screening of Istomina’s film Philosophy of the Encounter.

Art form Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Tatiana Istomina

Amanda Nedham


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