Garden

the search continues in a garden of texts

the garden

The Garden (installation)

 

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The Garden (full view)

 

The Garden (detail)

The Garden (detail)

 

The yellow piece, The Garden, uses the same shape but inverts it. Here the thread remains. The shapes for these plans are derived from the Egyptian symbols which name the twenty one regions through which the Egyptian boat of the dead has to pass on its way to “heaven’. The words ‘where is my house’ and ‘ tell me where’ come from a Sumerian poem 5,000 B.C. dealing with exile and belonging. In the yellow piece titled, ‘The garden’ the search travels through metaphorical notions of the garden. So I began with the idea of a garden in the desert, a walled garden, where a section of the house protects and separates an internal space from an external infinite space. Here the garden mediates, negotiates. It becomes a second permeable skin through which we breathe in the outside, infinity in small amounts. The first garden, Eden, is also the beginning of desire and exile. The name which appears in the top left hand corner of the work heralds not so much a place as a moment in time.

Texts in ‘The Garden’: The work begins with a quote from Michael Ondaatje’s: The English Patient, (a text whose primary themes question the nature of desire and redemption).            ‘ … the desert could not be claimed or owned – it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones …’. The quote becomes an image, it becomes the ground of the work — a pale yellow ochre wash on a white wall.

The words in printed Courier typeface are all first person quotes. ‘tell me where, is a continuation of the Sumerian poem in which Innana searches for home. In this piece home is framed not in terms of physical location but in the texts of others. Home is only ever a transitory thing, something that happens when we cross the paths of those who have journeyed the same way.

The words in hand painted Gouache are third person quotes: ‘the book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us,’ Kafka’s statement, is also a question: is this the problem, our common indifference, a kind of original sin? And is the book as axe, the answer, the agent of connection, a way through to redemption. In The Garden the text is both image and voice. ‘ please water the peonies,’ can be seen not only as first person voice but it can also be seen as a path through the desert.

 

Points of Departure

Points of departure

Points of departure

The installation begins with a reading to the empty space from El Iskandariya — Alexandria, a story about the search for home and the nature of belonging. This is done with the knowledge that those who will hear this reading will be some distance away, in another city, another country (the work was made in the knowledge that a video and other material would be sent to the Documentation Festival in Lodz). It then becomes a kind of displaced reading – so the emptiness of the space isn’t emptiness, it contains a voice that seeks to connect to the space around it and there is a listener, but the listener is distanced just as we are when we leave home or are dispersed, then the voices that we carry within us seem themselves far away. Fragments from the novel are read at particular points in the space. This is the first gesture, a way of breaking the anonymity of the place, which has its own character and feeling. And so a relationship begins.

installing sites

installing sites

Each place where a reading occurs is then marked with a white square, which in turn signals the site for a work to be installed. In this way the act of reading gives the writing physicality as well as providing a structure for installing the works which now have a specific location. This installation seeks to extend the concept of mapping from the two-dimensional wall to three-dimensional space – the space through which we walk and in which we exist

Windows and Seeing

windows 4

windows 4

In this instance the architecture provides a starting point for installing the first work, which is a ‘window’ comprised of a sheet of paper with a rectangle cut out of its centre, and placed in the archway a little beyond the stairs, where there might previously have been a wall. A second paper window is situated some feet away. It renders the space in between tangible and creates a double frame in both directions. During the day the light shifts across the adjacent wall whose emptiness glows white contributing to the feeling of a volume, a cubed space with its own presence rather than a simple passageway.  The window in the archway is made of paper rather than wood or some other construction material. This makes it closer to a kind of thinking process, drawing in space, and drawing for me is very like writing; not only is writing a line that takes up different shapes that become words but drawing is also something which articulates and connects points in space and points on a surface, very much the way ones seeks to move from one place to another or from one thought to another.

 

 

window 5

window 5

The image of a window, internally lit at night, projected onto the wall. A wooden shelf replaces the window’s real ledge and supports a candle. The image only exists while the switch is on and the candle is lit. The work juxtaposes the real and the imagined. It is an oneiric image, Bachelard’s daydream. It is an image which seeks to engender memories of home specific to the viewer. Ephemeral and transitory, composed of light, it is about a moment, about seeing.

Belonging

chair

chair

p326 Chair 2 jpg copy

p331 Chair 4 jpg copy

 

‘a single voice’

A single voice

A single voice

a single voice

a single voice

My interest in language lies in its potential for resonance. Words are not only objects of thought but they also exist in the physical world-they are heard,seen and felt.The way a word looks affects our interpretation similarly when placed within a physical space words lend to their surroundings a particular tone. There is an ambiguity in the nature of language. Between the written and the spoken word lies a space and it is in this space that a specific meaning is created by an individual. But a single voice belongs not only to an individual; a community or a nation may also speak as one. It was with the issues facing us in this moment, socially and globally, that the words were chosen for this work.