Rachel Lee Hovnanian created the cherubic centerpiece of TAPED SHUT, a patina green bronze bust with two pieces of tape covering its mouth, representing the suppression of truth. The bust is illuminated by two works in neon that read what I couldn’t say and what I didn’t say, alluding to the ways in which censorship can result in emotional and psychological turmoil for its victims and witnesses. The floor is strewn with feather-coated tape strips, representing the silencing power of institutional forces that prevent difficult truths from being dispersed. Every breath is capable of dispersing the feathers – except when they are trapped in these tape nests.
Visitors are invited to cover their own mouths with a tape X to symbolize the act of being silenced. They are encouraged to keep the X on while they roam the venue to juxtapose the concept of hidden truths with a very public display.
Our reluctance to speak our truths can stem from the fear of being scrutinized, not believed, or even villainized, which has led countless people to remain silent. The existence of angels is un-provable, just as accusations in instances of abuse may frequently be void of any tangible evidence. Therefore, we are left to judge between fact and fiction based on perception, preconceived notions, and ultimately, belief. Given the current political and social climate in America and worldwide, it is vital to address the countless individuals that have been silenced by societal pressures and institutional forces.