The American Future by Abigail DeVille is a monumental installation, or as the artist puts it, “a model for reflection” comprised of foraged materials, publications, time, labor, up-rooted histories, politics, poetry, and research. In an attempt to form a new kind of space or landscape, DeVille takes us on a trip through time from 1804–2018.
The artist begins with Thomas Jefferson’s commission of the Lewis and Clark expedition and Monticello—his obsessive, forty-year labor of love–and speeds forward through the wreckage of this expansionist’s desire to build legacy, home, plantation, and nation at the cost of the environment, the people, and the very ethics he purported. DeVille suggests that “the ideal he so eloquently crafted in the Declaration of Independence, that “All men are created equal”, never materialized in practice because of his fractured mind. His expansion and personal accumulation of wealth could never fit into the statement of democracy for the people, by the people.”
Taking as its starting point the paradox of Jeffersonian ideals, actions and architecture, DeVille uses ancient and neoclassical structures to deconstruct a monolithic view of “the West” while forming a social sculpture emulative of the entropy of now.