The Worlds Reverse: Ballads from an Upside-down World is an exhibit of all-new narrative work by artist Erik Ruin. The image of the world turned upside-down reoccurs throughout history, from medieval woodcuts to modern political discourse. This exhibit explores the question of what it has and what it could mean to upend the order of things via a variety of media- from scrolling panoramas that illuminate historic ballads to a series of illustrated broadsides featuring texts solicited from contemporary authors- including poets Emily Abendroth and Tessa Landreau-Grasmuck, playwrights Erik Ehn and Carlos Sirah, and fiction writer Alex Smith.
Erik Ruin is a Michigan-raised, Philadelphia-based printmaker, shadow puppeteer, paper-cut artist, etc., who has been lauded by the New York Times for his “spell-binding cut-paper animations.” His work oscillates between the poles of apocalyptic anxieties and utopian yearnings, with an emphasis on empathy, transcendence and obsessive detail. He frequently works collaboratively with musicians, theater performers, other artists and activist campaigns. He is a founding member of the international Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, and co-author of the book Paths Toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism (w/ Cindy Milstein, PM Press, 2012).