Edie Fake doesn't care what's real | Bleader

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Edie Fake doesn't care what's real

Posted By on 02.12.13 at 02:02 PM

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  • Edie Fake
Chicago has always seemed like a magical place, one where past and present intertwine. It's a haunted city, animated by memory, that often feels unmoved by the passage of time. Nowhere is this more strongly felt than in the architecture, buildings in which the spirits of Sullivan, Burnham, and Wright persist. But even in lesser-known structures, the smaller buildings populating neighborhoods throughout the city, ghosts remain. The tops of these structures, with their intricate tile work and ornate stone facades, offer glimpses of the past. To keep your eyes lifted is to be transported back in time, to imagine all the wondrous things those buildings may once have held. But to drop your eyes is to be confronted by the present—a discount shoe store, a carry-out restaurant—some quotidian thing that makes all the ghosts disappear.

Edie Fake is a conjurer of spirits, the prime mover of a mystical world. In his reimagined Chicago, it is forever night and there is nothing to scare the ghosts away. Fake's "Memory Places" is a series of intricate drawings of buildings, structures that seem, like the view through a kaleidoscope, to both expand and recede into themselves. Drawing from a history of Chicago subcultures, Fake recreates iconic dance clubs and punk bars like Club La Ray and La Mere Vipere, places that have ceased to physically exist but live on in the city's collective memory. His Chicago is a dreamscape, a place too strange and beautiful to be real, reimagined with all the fantasy that a loving memory confers.

"Memory Places" also includes five "Gateways," tribute architecture Fake has designed for friends who've passed away. The process of creating the drawings, some of which took 80 hours to complete, was cathartic for Fake, a "formal approach to mourning" that allowed him to use only an isolated block of his brain. The juxtaposition of Fake's obvious technical skill and the quiet mysticism of his subjects is what makes him so compelling. I have the sense that beneath the precision and geometry of his work is an unwavering belief in the unknown—a hope that gateways work in both directions, allowing ghosts to come and go as they please.

"Memory Places" will end with a closing party, book signing, and discussion with Edie Fake. Fri 2/15, 6-8 PM, Thomas Robertello Gallery, 27 N. Morgan.

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