Harold Abramowitz, Dear Dearly Departed

Beginning and ending with the same phrase “Dear Dearly Departed” to a lengthy yet necessary missive to an unknown listener, much is to be expected in between the point of entrance and exit, though the book’s sheer magnitude is difficult to decipher, yet prevailing. Harold Abramowitz’s second book (following his earlier chapbook Three Column Table) utilizes repetitions, short and brash lines, declarations of feelings and slippery absolutisms, as well as follows through with an examination of numerous dichotomies—such as lover-enemy, absence-presence, life-death, love-hate, progress-regression, man-woman, child-adult, order-chaos, ad infinitum. Abramowitz has the reader on a sophisticated escapade; your ride is sure to be eloquent and well-deliberated. Dear Dearly Departed is one exploded paragraph—though not to be confused with Vanessa Place’s 50,000 word, run-on sentence of a novel Dies: A Sentence. Yet, both works of art can be considered avant-garde, in that they push the interpreter into fresh literary architectures, if even somewhat uncomfortable, as well as breaking through previous notions of what a poetic body of work needs to investigate and via what avenues and methods of dissection.

The narrator’s path is contradictory; his perspective efficiently twists and turns displaying the moods of many who may be gliding through this piece, and more importantly, through this time period where many of us are situated in transit, pushing towards some kind of more solid closure. For instance, Abramowitz writes, “The seasons have changed me. I have, so to speak, changed with the seasons. And I don’t mean that. I don’t mean this.” Or another example of the narrator’s ability to quickly shift gears: “But things don’t end. They do end. Things don’t end. But they really do end.” But what is the point of displaying such unnerving instability (or what could also be read as humanness)? One might gather that the process of writing through such events actually releases the writer and reader from their power all together.

And sadly, this text—at some point—will end as well, even though this is one poetic vortex that one isn’t so interested in leaving, if even after a few pages into it. Dear Dearly Departed can be likened to melatonin, in that it has a particular inner rhythm and balance and becomes a stabilizing unit in-and-of itself. Yet, within this particular literary drug, Abramowitz concocts variegated moods and sinusoidal phases. One minute, the reader might be feeling calm and satisfied by Abramowitz’s consonance, alliteration, exposure to repetitive trance-like phrases such as “Look into the room. Look deeper into the room. Look deeper into the room” or “The time, and the time before that. The time and the time before that” or “A whole world, and, in the end, a whole world. A whole world of people.” Another minute, the reader might feel impatient by this epistolary’s reluctance to accommodate you. Dear Dearly Departed is extremely satisfying to the edgy, anxious reader in view—there is no way to dodge the honesty, love and sensitivity present on each page. Love is repeated, sadness resurfaces, and such sentiments could leave you feeling relieved of some thorn or malady that you didn’t even realize you were harboring—until it is gone. Absolutely gone or Dear Dearly Departed.To see the review in context, click here.

Johannes Heldén, “The Exploding Book”

Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén, Clouds, 2017.

As one enters the space temporarily designated for Swedish artist and poet Johannes Heldén’s The Exploding Book at Konstakademin’s in Stockholm, one detects that Heldén is receptive to nuance; each creative gesture confirms his dedication to both text and image, expressed with equitable consideration. More »

Malin Gabriella Nordin, “Floating from Within”

Malin Gabriella Nordin, Veil of Dreams, 2017. Image: Gallery Steinsland Berliner.

Stockholm-based artist Malin Gabriella Nordin is one of many Swedish women artists who resort to the basics – or perhaps the old ways, meaning they’re not particularly interested in the digital. More »

“Survival Kit 9”

Andris Eglītis, Laboratory of Poetic Research, 2017. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

The 9th edition of Survival Kit is orchestrated by a small team of Baltic and Scandinavian curators: Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce. All possess a background in organizing independently and within the confines of institutions, which may be their strong point—their fluidity. More »

The 9th Momentum Biennial

Jenna Sutela, Sporulating Paragraph, 2017. Image: Momentum 9.

Momentum 9, taking place in the industrial town of Moss, Norway, is being curated by Ulrika Flink, Ilari Laamanen, Jacob Lillemose, Gunhild Moe, and Jón B.K. Ransu, who together represent the Scandinavian region. With this biennial’s focus on ‘alienation’, the curators joined forces to determine how alien processes and entities are infused in our lives through technological, ecological and social transformations. More »

Klas Eriksson, “Vet din mamma var du e?”

Klas Eriksson
Klas Eriksson, Evidence of Patchwork, 2017. Image: Göteborgs Konsthall.

Swedish artist Klas Eriksson has developed a practice rooted in examining subcultures via works in public spaces and spontaneous performances. With an interest in how power flows and how crowds function, the artist attempts to unpack sociopolitical dynamics using playful tactics. More »

Lovisa Ringborg, “Night Remains”

Lovisa Ringborg
Lovisa Ringborg, Fountain, 2017. Image: Cecilia Hillström Gallery.

In Lovisa Ringborg’s second exhibition at this gallery, the artist upholds the argument that displaying a set of harmonious works can be more potent than a plethora of free-floating entities. More »

Przemek Pyszczek, “1989”

Przemek Pyszczek
Przemek Pyszczek, Public Relief No 6, 2016. Image: Gallery Belenius.

Polish-born, Canadian-raised, Berlin-based artist Przemek Pyszczek displays new works which are primarily sculptural and mixed media, with stints into collage. More »

Ulf Rollof, “Kleptomaniac”

Ulf Rollof
Ulf Rollof, Hungry Stranded, 2016. Image: CFHILL.

Sequestered above the restaurant Nosh & Chow in Stockholm (designed by Barcelona-based Lázaro Rosa-Violán), renowned Swedish artist Ulf Rollof’s current solo exhibition is the last installment in a trilogy that began in Mexico City. More »


Magdalena Dziurlikowska, Corona Radiata, 2016. Image: Gotlands Konstmuseum.

Differentiating between public and private spheres can be challenging. This group exhibition focuses on how one might successfully share a subjective experience when most individuals are conditioned to distance themselves from others. More »