“Friend” is the loosest of terms we have for how we relate to each other. Michel Foucault calls friendship “a desire, an uneasiness, a desire-in-uneasiness.” Not always democratic or inclusive, friendship starts with negation: we collectively wish everyone else would go away. Friendship can be impolite, and as it unfolds, it can be opaque and asymmetrical, tortuous. It is tensile, capable of bearing heart-wrenching passion, ambivalence, or even the absence of feeling. It is sometimes what’s left when nothing else is possible.
More broadly, friendship is a mode of alliance that exists beyond typical kinship and outside of institutional relations (family, profession). It’s an elective affinity without finality. Being a good friend signals an inclination to form anomalous, unproductive bonds that exceed strategic self-interest. An essentially political relationship—one of allegiance and responsibility—it offers a framework for interrogating how we live and work and exist in the world. It offers a possibility for a new poetics of the Other.
Smashing into my heart looks at friendship as a condition, a model, and a metaphor for art. The artworks presented engage with regimes of care, structures of support, horizontal relationships. They are steeped in affection, desire, longing, jealousy, comfort, love. The tone is sentimental—irony has left the building.
Curated by Myriam Ben Salah.