Guests here or not?
Guests here or not?, installation in ceramic, textile, plastic, watercolor on paper, digital prints, glassware, water, matches. Dimensions variable. 2017
The title of my most recent project, Guests here or not? refers to many things: the invitation to an exhibition (the artist as representative/host), the viewer being drawn into an artwork, and an elemental question of existence (do I belong here?). This installation acted as an environment to consider ones relationship with the immediate objects before them, art history, and the symbols/connections between life, beauty, and creative traditions.
Guests… could be viewed in two parts: The first being the table-based collection of unlit matches, tablecloths, ceramic vessels, and transparent, laser-etched hands. These objects were staged together in reference to historical vanitas painting and are reminiscent of contemporary installations by artists like Liz Magor. The second part is the surrounding line of A4 digital prints. Each horizontal page includes a line of dark-blue text on a half-toned image: the text was the my own poetic instructions referring to the production and consideration of still-life painting, with phrases such as “peel the fruit “ and “trace a rectangle”. The background images were of cremains, marble, silk, seashells, charcoal and paint; elements used as both medium and subject for classical artworks. This expanded publication existed as a reference to the work on the table, allowing the viewer to move between them to create their own links.
Each element was an exploration into a transformative process from raw material. The ceramics, the one watercolor still-life of oranges (hung high as if in a museum, but with simple thumbtacks as if it was just a simple note) can be read as direct, handmade objects, a clean comment on my connection to the master’s traditions. The digital prints, the industrially produced found objects, and the lasered hands are more obtusely handmade, although the process of procurement was personally effected into being, as was designing of the the vectors and PDFs for the photographic elements. This was a still-life built of inclusive technologies. This was an installation of flexible reference.
"Every time I read the file I remember who it is for, and how it will go in the newspaper.
I think about that podcast, where the hosts describe the tradition of creating a gravestone: I imagine the scene that this must’ve taken place in: some grassy hill near a collection of stone and wood houses, the kirk in the corner, the man (maybe he’s my age), wearing wheat-colored pants and a henley shirt (not period-accurate), chiseling the final letter of the name into the slab. Ideally, the bereavement period should exclude all painful work: this guy should be able to grab his dog or his own children or whomever and take a hike, sit and feel it all out until he can’t or doesn’t anymore.
When a laser etches marble, it comes from a file. The file’s contents are built in collaboration with the mason, who most likely has a software technician, who most likely has an adjustable template: there is nothing for you to hit when light fulfills the tradition for you."
Guests here or not? was exhibited at Reception Gallery, Khio, 2017