Enigmatic conceptual artist Taryn Simon’s major exhibition at New York’s Park Avenue Armory ‘An Occupation Of Loss’ is a large-scale sculpture comprising 11 inverted concrete wells, each measuring 45 feet in height and built from eight, stacked industrial rings. Each night at sundown, more than thirty professional mourners who populate Simon’s sculptural installation, broadcasting their lamentations.

an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_03

The mourners from around the world enact rituals of grief each evening, their voices resounding throughout the vast drill hall. The status of the lamenters as professionals—performing away and apart from their usual contexts—underscores the tension between authentic and staged emotion, spontaneity and script. Open during the daytime, visitors are invited to activate the sculpture of inverted wells with their own sounds.

an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_02

Taryn Simon is an enigmatic and groundbreaking artist whose practice involves rigorous research and investigation into the power and structure of secrecy, often underscoring our operational and emotional vulnerabilities.

an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_09

A subtle drone created from distilled recordings of the mourners’ rituals provides a white noise that echoes the evening performances. The resulting work blends sculpture, sound, architecture, and performance in a monumental exploration of the boundaries of grief between living and dead, past and present, performer and viewer.

an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_01   an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_04 an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_05 an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_06 an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_07 an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_08  an-occupation-of-loss-taryn-simon_10

The piece, co-commissioned by The Armory and Artangel, is in collaboration with OMA, led by Shohei Shigematsu. An Occupation Of Loss is on view till September 25.