On February 4th, 2017 the Block Museum celebrated the opening of the exhibition If You Remember, I’ll Remember with artists Dario Robleto, Samantha Hill, Kristine Aono and Marie Watt in conversation with curator Janet Dees. The title of the exhibition was lent to the exhibition by Dario Robleto in an essay which offers a weighty philosophical prompt: What right do we have to forget? What do we owe to one another’s memories.
The artists considered these questions and the relationship of their works in a fascinating discussion:
From the Panel Introduction by Janet Dees
My introductory text to this exhibition begins with the following sentence: If You, Remember, I’ll Remember is an invitation to reflect on the past while contemplating the present through works of art exploring the themes of love, mourning war, relocation, internment, resistance, and civil rights in 19th and 20th century North America.
The present is ever shifting. Moments leave us before we have had the chance to fully apprehend them. During the hour that we are in this auditorium together events could take place outside of this room that will make this exhibition resonate in ways we can’t imagine now. So many things transpired over the course of my organizing this exhibition that I could not have imagined when I began to conceptualize it…In organizing this exhibition I sought to assemble works that resonated with the present I was contemplating, but that would come to it from a different perspective. My goal was to assemble an exhibition that would honor the specificity of artworks and of the history in which they engaged while hoping that their juxtaposition would spark new questions and provide different insights then they would on their own, both about the past and the present.
From the Essay “If You Remember, I’ll Remember” by Dario Robleto
In a way the objects ask something even more demanding of those remaining than what they were asked to do at the time of their creation. They ask us to change our relationship with time. They ask us to stretch our abilities of empathy beyond what we thought capable. The individual bonds that birth these types of objects into our world inevitably erode, but a generational collaboration against erasure grows in their place, rooting us in a dimension of time longer than our own lives. They appeal to our common humanity—that we have all, or will someday, lose someone we love. When that day comes, these objects will remain, monuments to letting go but also to holding on. They serve to remind us that there will always be space to add our own objects. So this is the agreement we make with each other through time: if you remember, I’ll remember.
– Dario Robleto (2013)