The Memory and Loss is a series of three linked installation works, constructed over consecutive years in 2002, 2003 and 2004, that contribute to current debates about the ways in which memory, death and the act of remembering is marked in contemporary culture. Collectively the series of works mark the journey from mourning to renewal but individually the works address different aspects of the marking of memory and loss.
Slowly you leave, was conceived as a space to reflect on the fragmentary nature of memory and to create a territory of contemplation and renewal.
Abundant fruit fills the space with the scent of pears while plates frame the floor images suggest a table set for a large family picnic. The installation work employs image fragments from the 2002 work The Ministry of Kindness – a conversation about dying, and the 2003 work Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry. The image fragments appear in the later installation in their deconstructed forms. The precarious, three dimensional, wood shaving covered chair on the verge of collapse in the installation, The Ministry of Kindness – a conversation about dying, appears in Slowly you leave, arranged in its eight component parts circling a life size salt figure with a bruised, ash heart. The chair has become diagramatic, a flat pack ready for reassembly. The deconstructed salt and ash text from the work, Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry, in Slowly you leave, is presented as a shrouded body or a map of a barely remembered territory.
Slowly you leave, was constructed over a three-week period, exhibited to viewers from the 6 - 18 September 2004, and deconstructed in one day.A colour image of the installation work was featured in The Brighton Argus on 18 - 19 September 2004. Page 17.Documentary record of the work exists in DVD, slide and photographic print form.
Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry, is a solo installation work constructed and presented in the Performance Studio at the University of Brighton on 18 August – 9 September 2003.
Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry, was conceived as a memorial space, a space of repair, for a stillborn child denied access to an independent burial space.
Constructed from salt, ash, hand cut stencils, rope and hand dyed wood shavings, Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry, preserves fleeting memories of a family history in ash text on a salt ground. The stencilled text on the surface of salt employs ephemeral materials to create the illusion of a carved tombstone or a giant written paper document. Derived from family aural history accounts the text describes remembered images of a couple’s actions in response to the loss of a child. The text is constructed through the use of stencils an absent form, which makes an image present through the application of ash. The labour, precision and patience involved in the installation’s construction is a form of devotional ritual designed to honour the memory of both parents and child. Traditionally memorials and monuments are associated with permanent structures the impermanent nature of the memorial space, Auntie Esme and Uncle Harry, employs an embodied act of remembering each time the memorial is constructed.
The work was constructed over a fourteen day period, exhibited to viewers to experience in its completed form for seven days from 1 - 8 September 2003, and deconstructed over one day.
A black and white image of the artist and the installation work featured in The Argus newspaper on 25 September 2003. Page 21.
Documentary record of the work exists in DVD, slide and photographic print form.
The Ministry of Kindness - a conversation about dying, is a solo installation work constructed and presented in the Performance studio at the University of Brighton on the 1 - 20 August 2002.
The Ministry of Kindness - a conversation about dying, was constructed from hand dyed wood shavings and manipulated wooden furniture to suggest a luxurious office space with a centrally placed richly woven carpet. As the carpet is approached the illusion of permanence is shattered on the realisation that the image is constructed from discarded fragments of wood shavings and a desk and chair on the verge of collapse. The space offers an image of stilled time, a space where physical work has been abandoned. The installation employed durational, physical labour to create an embodied experience of the construction and deconstruction process and was conceived as a territory to prepare for death, a space to facilitate conversations about dying. The work was made for the writer and critic Stuart Morgan prior to his death in 2002. Constructed over a fourteen day period, exhibited to viewers for one day and deconstructed in one day the work aimed to create a place of calm, a space of sanctuary, a space to prepare.
A colour image of the work featured in The Independent newspaper on 30 August 2002. Page 7.
Documentary records of the work exist in DVD, slides and photographic print form.