Matthew Allen, Jonathan van Doornum, Niek Hendrix, Filip Vervaet, Sarah & Charles
Medicine Breath
May 9 – July 4, 2020

Once popularized with the slogan “The taste people hate, twice a day,” mouthwash (Listerine) may be the epitome of our modern times' obsession with cleanliness and hygiene. The phrase captures a dynamic between repulsion and attraction, between 'is' and ‘ought', and how to make ‘ought' a reality.  The phrase illustrates humankind’s complicated relationship with nature, specifically our own nature, which we can’t come to terms with.  Repulsed as we are by our animal nature, we cannot escape it. Herein lies the beauty of culture: its successes and failures spell out our … and limitations. Something beautiful in the face of disease and death. Art can be a medicine for what people call the ‘soul', if you will. A breath of fresh air. Medicine breath. 
Listerine’s campaign is also a fine (if not a prime) example of turning your disadvantage into a winning strategy, and a lesson in marketing: when consumers didn’t like the new product because of its medicinal taste, the company simple decided to turn this disadvantage into a selling point.  

With our heads in the clouds and our feet in the mud, we are stuck between visceral and cerebral, instinct and intellect. We might as well make the best of it. Art cannot turn the tables on death and decay. But it can try, it can try to turn its failure into an advantage and heal the connection between ourselves and the world we find ourselves thrown into...