“What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we go downstairs, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed on order to sleep. How? Where? When? Why? ― Georges Perec: L’Infra Ordinaire
I am drawn to the human tendency to physically and psychologically accumulate objects. Much of my work revolves around the idea that memory attaches itself to these accumulated objects like an ephemeral residue. Memory is a nebulous thing. I am intrigued by the amorphous chronology of remembering. It behaves non-linearly and weaves around us as we go through our lives, slightly haunting us. I imagine the construction of the walls of our homes as embedded with the daily accumulation and debris of our lives – our tangible clothes, bowls, cutlery, and furniture along with our seemingly intangible habits, routines, and thoughts transformed into bricks, both constant and tenuous. These become part of a physical and metaphorical architecture, one that, perhaps, memory would take if it assumed the physical form of a lived space. I see the accumulation of our lives and the subsequent stratification of things as a conduit for memory- past, present and future.
Time is embedded in our understanding and perception of memory. I am interested in the anatomy of brain and how the retention of past experiences affects our ability to imagine the future. With time as part of the conceptual scaffolding of my work, the theory of general relativity, of the compression and stretching of time and how we experience its passage in the cosmos, is enthralling and perplexing. Human memory parallels general relativity in how time can be pushed and pulled in the gravity of a single moment of remembering.
Clay offers a temporal shift though its elemental transformation in both its raw and fired state. Slip dipping entombs a given material or object and creates a fragile protective shell. Though rigid once the water evaporates, the fluidity of the cloth is held in suspension, waiting as remnants of our daily lives, reminiscent of our dreams. Still in its raw state, the slip is easily cracked open or dissolved by water to reveal the underlying core of fabric – breakable and impermanent, yet remarkably strong. In its fired state, the original entombed material is lost and all that remains is its hollow porcelain shell, a fragile representational memory of the real thing. Its thin shell is perhaps more fragile in its permanent fired-state, and more easily broken by gravity or the slightest misstep than before. The object is one step removed from its original self. It is a self-referential memory that plays with a physical manifestation of time and timelessness.
The whiteness of porcelain is an anonymous color, which echoes timelessness. Blanched and seemingly drained of color, the objects are akin to ghosts. I like the idea of the work seeming both dead and alive – not relegated to our binary perception and understanding of time. I want my work to be something that comes from our daily reality, but also is derivative of fiction, and bordering the surreal. Whether clothes, furniture or other architectural elements like a brick wall, the tense and reality of these objects shift from present to past, dead to alive, fact to fiction, from concrete to a trace, to any state of being between.