From his image archive An Ongoing Collection of Screengrabs with Reassuring Subtitles with currently 1.200 screenshots from American TV series and movies, Allan McCollum has chosen 400 motifs with subtitles such as “It will be ok” or “Don’t worry, Babe” to be printed on canvas, each framed in a black wooden frame and measuring 10.4 x 17.2 x 1.6 in (26.3 x 43.8 x 4 cm). This group of works is especially designed for Galerie Thomas Schulte to be offered to friends, supporters and interested clients as a sign of consolation and to financially help two highly acclaimed art institutions, the ICA Miami and C/O Berlin, to cope in these difficult times. A selection of the works is on view at Galerie Thomas Schulte in an individual exhibition from May 23 through July 11, 2020.
Allan McCollum began this project in 2015 as a visual essay about the meaning of closeness and comfort in our society. He wants it to serve as a reminder that it is through the telling and sharing of stories that we perceive the world. It is also a critique of Hollywood and populist rhetoric which both instrumentalize our emotions by promoting the narrative of a hero coming to the rescue, while in reality we depend on being part of a community of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. All of the screen shots from films and movies amassed by McCollum depict people in situations of great uncertainty and distress being comforted with words of support that spell out in the subtitles. But while anxiety and worry are feelings that are individually and subjectively felt and experienced by all of us, the encouraging phrases on the screen through endless repetition soon become somewhat meaningless.