The Raft of Medusa
In an ode to Théodore Géricault’s 200 year-old masterpiece for a nation ruined by greed and callous neglect, Hanita Schwartz has recreated the Raft of Medusa at Oxbow as part of her ongoing work, Relicaptia. Using a solvent to slowly and chronologically erase images and text from each of the roughly 400 pages of a 19th and 20th century modern art history book, Schwartz creates dialogue between the old masters and new media that questions the way we consume art.
Built approximately to scale of the original, the raft tells a tale of ghastly incompetence resulting in countless lives lost as nepotism and corruption run rampant in the halls of power. Far from the raging seas but adrift in seemingly endless crises, Schwartz alludes to how these forces converge in the 2020 US Presidential Election. Instead of leaving 147 people adrift at sea, however, Schwartz has literally erased the human element from her raft so that, in the words of historian Jules Michelet, “our whole society is aboard the raft of Medusa.”