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Barbara Koenen @ Finestra Art Space | by Paul Germanos
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Barbara Koenen @ Finestra Art Space

"Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time."


"A symbol is something --- such as an object, picture, written word, a sound, a piece of music, or particular mark --- that represents (or stands for) something else by association, resemblance, or convention..."


Barbara Koenen

Installation: Power/Style x 0.5 = War

@ Finestra Art Space

5th Floor, 410 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60605



Opens Friday, August 8, 5–9 p.m.

Runs through the end of August.


The English word for a fragmenting, hand-thrown explosive, "grenade," is said to have been derived from the French, "la grenade." Prior to the 16th century, "la grenade," referred soley to the pomegranate.


Koenen presents two timelines: one for the evolution of the American involvement in Iraq, and one for the rise in popularity of the pomegranate. Said timelines run parallel to one another.


As health in the individual body is promoted by pomegranate consumption, health in the body politic [Iraq? USA?] is diminished by violence.


The artist supposes the instruments of violence [grenade] to be commonplace, placing them alongside objects -- domestic and commercial -- that share a similar form.


But, too, Koenen "neutralizes" the immediate connotation of explosive force with fiber "cozies" knit together by hand; one thing blows apart, the other thing draws together.


I love pomegranate. They're a part of the Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East, figuring prominently in a number of the myths and religions of my ancestors.


Visually, the installation is rewarding: it's rich and colorful and many layered. And my God it's strange what people are sold: foreign wars and arcane fruits...

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Taken on August 6, 2008