At the end of a party, there's often the question of how to best leave without making a fuss. Departing without saying goodbye is known as making a “French exit”—something Lithuania-based artist Tadao Cern relates to as a self-proclaimed introvert. “I cannot bear the attention that you get once you say that you have to go. A ping pong game starts in which you say ‘I have to go' and others reply ‘please don't go.” His newest installation French Exit is named after and inspired by this relationship with goodbyes. Quoted from My Modern Met.
Cern suspended a field of dried grass from the ceiling to create an immersive viewing experience. Visitors walk underneath the golden plumes to consider both short and long-term farewells that they have to make in their lives. The first sketches of French Exit were created very soon before the COVID pandemic hit us.
So whilst this has an element of sentimentality to it, for me, just looking at it on a screen made me want to jump inside, its sensorial beauty was mesmerizing, magnetic.
When we say goodbye to something, it equally means something new and different is about to begin. So rather than seeing and feeling loss, Cern’s piece let me imagine the opposite.
So after this time of reflection, this is my hello.