Elizabeth Gower: he loves me, he loves me not
AC [Direct] I and II presents Australian artist Elizabeth Gower's installation project he loves me, he loves me not along the outer walls of the galleries.
The familiar phrase “he loves me, he loves me not” is written 20,097 times symbolizing the number of days Gower calculates she has lived and asked the question. Written in white chalk directly onto and entirely covering the black walls, this repeated statement is ephemeral and exists only for the duration of the exhibition. The repetitious process is simultaneously
obsessive, cathartic and physically draining. As is the continual speculation of whether "he loves me" or "loves me not."
The 'he' is generic, representing the fathers, brothers, boyfriends, lovers, husbands and sons in a woman's life, as well as the critics, the audience, the colleagues, the bosses, the friends and deities. This private exchange of intimacy, removed from a particular speaker/reference, becomes a universal construct or consciousness. Explored with each reiteration and inscription is the transience of language, its instability and capacity to fluctuate. Also within he loves me, he loves me not, a process of synthesis and transformation takes place whereby the concept’s part–the fragment or detail–is integrated to form a transcendent whole.
Between March 6 - 8, 2009 Elizabeth Gower will be one of the Co-Hosts in AC [Institute]’s “Live in the Limo” at the Armory Fair, where he loves me, he loves me not will be referenced in a related performance.
Elizabeth Gower lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, teaches at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and is currently completing a PhD from Monash University (Melbourne). Gower has exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions and participated in many major group exhibitions in Europe, U.K, United Arab Emirates and throughout Australia including Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne), Centro per le Arti Visive (Venice), Auronzo di Cadore (Treviso), Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane), Museum of Modern Art at Heide (Melbourne), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Sharjah University (UAE), Gramercy Art Fair (New York) and International Contemporary Art Fair: ARCO (Madrid). Her work has been chosen for public commissions for The Super Dome Olympics (Sydney), City of Port Phillip, Southbank and World Congress Centre (Melbourne) and Victorian Ministry for the Arts.
Gower has received grants and awards from Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Arts Victoria (Melbourne), Alliance Française Art Fellowship, Georges Art Prize as well as multiple grants for residencies abroad from The Australia Council. She is currently Artist-in-residence in New York. Her work is held in collections within Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates such as The Australian National Gallery (Canberra), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Parliament House Collection (Canberra), Queensland University of Technology and The University of Tasmania (Hobart).