The Symbolical Impossibility of Disavowing Trauma: Dumith Kulasekara

1 - 20 January 2011

I present to you this exhibition after nearly three years of my first solo show Trauma, is called The Symbolical Impossibility of Disavowing Trauma. As I have earlier stated in my catalogue from Trauma, I hope to shock my viewer into rethinking about what it is that makes people human: male/female. I have attempted to confront the viewer with a crisis of subjectivity, specifically male, in our contemporary society. In fact, the theme presents women in a man’s world and the crisis of defining what it is to be a woman and also what it is to be man. I question life in our reproductive society and at the same time the concepts of fetishism, narcissism, masochism, sadism and sado-masochism, and eventually traumatism in human relations. Further on, my experience in childhood between 1988 and 1989 when I was traumatized has placed a great influence on my work.


For this exhibition I selected twelve recent works from my own collection. The implications of social context in the works was obviously based on a commercialized social-political condition which, in my opinion, has been a great influence on contemporary human relationships and subjectivity, influenced by the war culture in the country. However, I believe that the exhibition will bring you a surpassed sign of my journey throughout the last five years in the field of visual arts. I have over these years acted as artist and curator in preparing my works for the exhibition. Therefore, exploring the theme of TraumaThe Symbolical Impossibility of Disavowing Trauma is numerous in its meanings as well as function. Trauma as an experience and an action is something that people attempt to avoid, but are confronted with suddenly. Its effect is both physical and psychological. When someone is confronted with a traumatic experience he or she cannot be able to respond to it in words, instead the reaction would be through body language.


There are basically two functions in the show. The meaning of Trauma is inherent in all my works, not only in content and theme but also in my own behavior in the field of visual arts. I believe strongly that my first solo was traumatic to the audience while connoting the social reality of trauma. It is my aim to shock people through my art. Consequently, I believe that The Symbolical Impossibility of Disavowing Trauma will emphasize these two facts more clearly than ever before. The title implies that no one can reject the effects of trauma and their physical and psychological response to trauma in their life. We are still trying to disavow our practices and the relationship between trauma and ourselves.


By exploring the theme of trauma and its effect on gender identity in this exhibition you will be faced with a mirror that cannot be destroyed until I stop making you traumatized through this visual language The phenomenon of making you traumatized and allowing you to escape from it will be present significantly in all the works of the show. In particular I see this as a struggle between aesthetics and politics and vice versa. Finally, I believe this exhibition will present the audience with my response to contemporary human relationships in social, cultural and political contexts while it traces significant signs in the field of contemporary art, in particular in the context of Sri Lanka.


Dumith Kulasekara


View the E-Catalogue