Critics’ Picks

Krista Franklin, “ take root among the stars,” 2018, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.


Krista Franklin

Poetry Foundation
61 W Superior St
September 27–December 21, 2018

Krista Franklin’s modular wall mural “…to take root among the stars”, 2016–, functions like the naming of constellations. It takes the potential for making meaning from the celestial realm and applies it to the uneven strata of cultural history, which she represents with archival materials, handmade papers, passages of quoted texts, and found objects. Cursive writing runs across this appropriated ephemera and onto the expanse of white wall.

Downy black feathers burst from a sheet of paper as delicate as tissue; black faces cut out from magazines and product packaging peer through ripped pages. References to spells, the occult, superstition, voodoo, and telepathy abound, and across one of the heavier, rigid pieces of paper are lyrics from the band the Internet: “I know what you want / I can read your mind even from behind.” Franklin uses pulpy paper as a matrix upon which to sample, embed, and commemorate the recuperation of black experiences that have been constrained within the framework of white supremacist history. At the opening, writer Aricka Foreman read from her poem “we live best/ in the spaces between two loves”: “Ears pressed between veils, straining to hold some silver ephemera not mine to keep.” This is the space shared by Franklin’s installation. Celebrating the possibilities for extrasensory powers to resist oppressive narratives and change the minds of a society, Franklin reorders ritual and constructs fantasies.