Milan

Alfredo Jaar, WHAT NEED IS THERE TO WEEP OVER PARTS OF LIFE? THE WHOLE OF IT CALLS FOR TEARS, 2018, neon, 19' 8 1⁄4“ × 15' 6 5⁄8”.

Alfredo Jaar

Lia Rumma | Milan

Alfredo Jaar, WHAT NEED IS THERE TO WEEP OVER PARTS OF LIFE? THE WHOLE OF IT CALLS FOR TEARS, 2018, neon, 19' 8 1⁄4“ × 15' 6 5⁄8”.

Its windows covered with red film, the gallery emitted a luminous glow, but this was no disco. Entering, viewers were enveloped by a dense fog that forced them to move about cautiously, drawn to a red neon sign that covered the entire back wall, its letters very far apart, elongated like falling teardrops and nearly illegible. The words had to be reconstructed one by one so that their meaning could be felt in all its painful effect: WHAT NEED IS THERE TO WEEP OVER PARTS OF LIFE? THE WHOLE OF IT CALLS FOR TEARS. This is also the title of this 2018 work, taken from the letter of consolation written around 40 CE by the Stoic philosopher Seneca to his friend Marcia after the death of her son. In it he exhorts her, in deeply felt and morally forceful language, to resist the irrational impulse of sorrow. Alfredo Jaar allowed this emblematic phrase to glimmer in the fog, reacting to the

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