Ribbon Gate

Karen Finley (USA)

Wed 28 Oct 2015

Barbican (Foyers)



Installation view of Karen Finley’s Memento Mori, June 7–August 23, 1992
At The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Photo by Paula Goldman

RIBBON GATE IS A PUBLIC MOURNING SCULPTURE WHERE VISITORS PARTICIPATE BY TYING A RIBBON IN MEMORY OF A LOVED ONE

Across six weeks, you are invited to contribute to Ribbon Gate – a participatory installation that is part of several artworks that comprise the exhibition Memento Mori. Premiered in 199, Memento Mori was an interactive installation in response to AIDS and the lack of memorials, compassion and government response. Memento Mori sought to encourage compassion, and a space for mourning, where at the time because of homophobia and fear there were no public sanctioned rituals to acknowledge or grieve for those lost to AIDS.


Born in Chicago international artist Karen Finley received an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute and is now a professor in Art and Public Policy at New York University and is author to 8 books. Her transgressive art crosses disciplines from performance, music, visual art, film, installation, social practice theatre, education and literature. Finley’s appearance in London at the ICA was censored in 1986. Karen Finley created artworks as a response to the AIDS crisis through the ‘80s and ‘90s. Frustrated and angry over the refusal to acknowledge and provide humane spaces for mourning by families and religious institutions for those lost to AIDS, Finley began creating her own spaces in poetry, performance texts and visual art.


  • Presented by the Barbican in partnership with SPILL Festival of Performance
  • Ribbon Gate was originally produced by Projects UK in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1991

Other Karen Finley events in the festival: Written in Sand and Shock Treatment


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