David Cordero and Elliot Layda: The Hedgehog’s Dilemma:

March 4–25, 2011


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  • A group of hedgehogs huddle together, trying to stay warm in the throes of winter. Without proximity, the hedgehogs will die, but the closer they get, the more they wound one another with their quills, a natural defense. This is the hedgehog’s dilemma. Psychologists use this example to illustrate the pitfalls of human intimacy. Compelled to secure a companion, we believe that having a close reciprocal relationship will improve the quality of our lives. Ironically, the inherent vulnerability associated with intimacy often triggers our defenses. We therefore go to great lengths to make ourselves impervious and beyond repudiation. Covered in spikes, we say to ourselves, Nothing can hurt me! But beneath our quills lies a shivering hedgehog wishing he wasn’t alone.

    David Cordero and Elliot Layda contemplate ineffectual attempts of togetherness and self-improvement in a collaborative installation at DOVA Temporary in Hyde Park. Both artists received undergraduate degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2010 Cordero received his MFA from the University of Chicago, where he has since been awarded a teaching fellowship for the Spring quarter of 2011.