On Message Off Grid

March 2022

On Message Off Grid was an installation by Jona Cerwinske in collaboration with the Trops in New York City. Presenting works created in situ, On Message Off Grid showcased the gallery format as the ultimate studio visit, as the artist created additional works across the streetscapes of NYC. 

Installation by Jona Cerwinske at On Message Off Grid

Plato’s allegory of the cave was intended to show “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.”

The allegory consists of a family who has lived their whole lives in a cave with no natural light. The only things they see are shadows cast on the wall by a fire. They see these shadows as real figures and learn from them as if they were aspects of real life. One day, someone finds a way out of the cave. They first are overwhelmed by the light, and soon realize that what they were looking at were the actual forms of the shadows they had been seeing their whole life in the cave. 

When the person goes back into the cave and tells the other about his discovery, they become angry and do not want to see his reasoning, plotting to kill him. The purpose of the allegory of the cave is to show that the reality of life often contrasts with the version of it that we interpret.

On Message Off Grid, Photos by @maxjbarone via Instagram

“I create in a marriage of two art forms that rebel against each other. I come from a generation when galleries did not accept anything from the street. And, vice versa, the street wanted nothing to do with the galleries. I had to experiment with what that looked like, combined.”

Jona Cerwinske

Paintings by Jona Cerwinske at On Message Off Grid