Patricia Waller (Berlin)

Three Monkeys

There are few symbols or emblems which are commonly understood in many cultures, but one is the symbol of the three monkeys.

The first three-dimensional depiction of the three wise negations in the form of three monkeys originates from the early 16th century in Japan. The three monkeys are a well-known allegory. Blind, deaf, and dumb, they hold their hands over their eyes, ears, and mouth respectively, so that they will not be able to tell the gods about the wickedness of humankind.

Whereas in Japan the three monkeys actually symbolized "to wisely disregard evil," in the Western world they are instead interpreted as "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" and carry a connotation of denial. This shift in meaning allows the three monkeys to serve as a socially critical symbol representing an ability to disassociate oneself with recent events and block out unpleasant truths.

And this is what the three moneys in the room convey. Smaller objects in Plexiglas vitrines are stand-ins for things we prefer to ignore or do not wish to acknowledge: war, environmental catastrophe, climate change, lack of civil courage, poverty Reminders of our apathy and inertia.

The artist Patricia Waller consciously plays with the "housewife art" appearance of her work. At first glance the objects appear innocent, with the painstaking handicraft initially softening viewers' impressions. The harmlessness that comes with the hand-made nature of the objects, which superficially summon the image of the sweet crochet blanket, disappears the moment one begins to reflect on the content.