We are Sorry (July 9, 2013)
Litho plate for full page broadsheet printing
Aluminium and ink
74cm x 60cm
We are Sorry (July 9, 2013) appears as the ‘response’ to Desert Island, the opening work in Adam Chodzko’s exhibition at Raven Row, London, We are Ready for Your Arrival , which unfolds as a series of events that arise from the apparent failure of a 60′ palm tree to arrive in time to be the central part of the exhibition. This major installation which explores the materialisation, through objects, texts and images, of the processes of artistic creative production; its expectations, ambitions, coincidences, irrational leaps and failures. The manifestations of these experiences are then paralleled through references to environmental transformation and collapse.
Dated (July 9th, 2013), two days before the exhibition’s opening, We are Sorry appears to be a printing plate for a broadsheet newspaper. But the plate is rejected, marked with a red wax cross. Whilst it alludes to something having gone wrong the preparation of the plate also seems to have run into problems, showing blurred text and spatters of ink.
The announcement ‘We are Sorry’ seems to refer to the image of the red Palm Weevil below it; an apology for this insect, or perhaps issued by this insect. The mis-registered text, just about legible, plots the movement of this invasive species as it spread from Asia to the West, through palm trees often hastily imported in order to beautify a city at a moment of self-consciousness, when the ‘world is looking’ (for example in the lead up to the Olympic Games in Athens and Barcelona). The final line ends apocalyptically with the words ...and all the palms will die.
The notion of issuing a public apology via a newspaper advertisement refers directly to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation apology, printed in UK national newspapers in July 2011, as an attempt to seek forgiveness from the British public for the phone hacking scandal. It also refers more generally to the discourse surrounding national apologies for historical abuses (eg; colonialism, slavery, Bloody Sunday, Apartheid, etc). In this context the issuing (whether by Red Palm Weevils or on their behalf) of a public apology in a newspaper for the failure of an object to arrive at an art exhibition suggests either delusions of grandeur, an over-developed sense of social responsibility, or a different reality where art is valued across society as being absolutely integral to its concerns. Apology also plays an important role in Chodzko’s interest in intimate personal relations, often complicated with the additional clause that partially or even wholly negates it as a truly surrendered; “I am sorry, but…”