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Kipp Normand: Snake Oil, A Fantastical American History
February 7, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - May 16, 2020 @ 3:00 pmFree
Artist and historian Kipp Normand’s practice is a physical and conceptual investigation into the power of objects and images as a narrative device. Inspired by the Dada traditions of assemblage, collage, construction, and performance, Normand employs the acts of appropriation, reuse, and recontextualization to explore contemporary perceptions of time, community, and memory. In Snake Oil, Normand distills four centuries of history to illustrate the deep-seated American penchant for fantastical thinking. Part world’s fair exhibit, huckster wagon, dime museum, and midway arcade; Snake Oil is a multifaceted installation that challenges the viewer to re-examine the ideas of American Exceptionalism. Imbued with satire and mixed with painful truths, this haunted temple of junk casts a sideways glance at the tales we tell our children and ourselves about who we are and how we got here.
Normand — who maintains a studio and workspace in Indianapolis where he creates dynamic works of visual art infused with narratives of culture, community, and history — is a scavenger and an obsessive collector. He searches back streets and alleys, junk stores and abandoned buildings, looking for clues to explain the mysteries of our world. Normand finds stories in discarded things: Stories about all of us, our cities, and our shared history. He first began making collage images, shadow boxes, and installations as a way to justify his relentless collecting. But the work soon became much more than that. It is Normand’s way to dig deeply into the vast attic of this world and to share his finds with anyone who takes the time to look. He holds a Master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and worked nearly 30 years in the field of heritage preservation and housing reform before turning to the practice of art.