The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present The Death of the Moth, an exhibition that features recent, animated installations by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. The exhibition shares its title with the 1942 short essay by Virginia Woolf, which was published posthumously and displays her signature stream-of-consciousness style in a vignette documenting a moth's final moments.
At FWM, The Death of the Moth exhibition pairs two of Steinkamp's installations that showcase a similar incessant, yet seemingly futile, struggle: Fly to Mars (2004-10) and her latest, Moth (2012). In Fly to Mars, a tree appears to be relentlessly blown about by wind throughout the winter, spring, summer, and fall. However, its upward motion suggests the movement is self-propelled, as if working to unearth its roots and launch itself into the galaxy. Moth displays the remnants of an equally dedicated act: billowing, patterned fabric, tattered by moth holes. This digital projection was inspired by FWM’s extensive collection of textiles and Steinkamp learning that moths are known for eating fabric. While the insects themselves are not visible, their presence is unmistakably sensed.