“Curious Silence” at the Brand Library Art Gallery is an exploration of types and causes of silence. The premise of the exhibition is an essay, printed in the exhibition brochure, written by A.S. Hamrah, a contributing artist who delineates feminist author Susan Sontag’s thoughts in her essay titled “The Aesthetics of Silence (1967).”
Sontag’s essays, novels and screenplays about world politics and popular culture had a great impact on experimental art in the 1960s and ’70s. In the Brand exhibition, nine artists exhibit various forms of expression — photography, film, sculpture and installation projects — which address silence as a consequence of separation.
Hamrah synthesizes the rather broad concept of silence into two types — silence of the artist and silence about the artist. Hamrah uses Sontag’s essay as a platform for demonstrating this thesis, and leads into the many potential forms that silence can take. Sontag is silenced by the selective exposure of her life by the media. She silences herself because of her intense shyness and fiercely guarded privacy, which prevent her from offering her own secrets.