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'Re-Collection' Solo exhibition at Corban Estate Arts Centre (Auckland, New Zealand) April/May 2012
‘Re-Collection’ is a series of still life paintings and objects related to the 50’s and 60’s presented as a cluster installation exhibited at Corban Estate Arts Centre in April/May 2012.
My creative process is driven by the impact of nostalgia in relation with familiar objects.
I am interested in the power of the sentimental inheritance and the attachment to objects it creates. What it is we carry with us from our ancestors and what it is we can never quite shake loose from, even when we believe we're breaking free.
I chose familiar objects that we can find at home, even today. Objects that we have played with or used in the kitchen. Objects that have been around for so long that multiple generations of the same family can relate to them. Objects that have exceeded their primary function and have now become a powerful reminder of time.
Nostalgia creates a sense of longing for a particular place or time. This body of work was inspired by the disillusion and the hopes of the 50's and the pursuit of happiness in an environment cultivating social expectations and conformity with a high consumerism level. Using familiar household objects as subject for my still life paintings and drawings, I explore the feelings related to nostalgia, life path, family burden and history.
Through my work I try to re-connect with the feeling of childhood when everything and anything was possible and when life was much simpler. I want to open a small window on 'what used to be' and allow a visual escape back to childhood.
The term nostalgia typically invokes images of a previous time when life was ‘good’. Most of us associate the easiness and recklessness of life with childhood.
“We cannot return to the past, but we can go home again” Jan Morris
This work also examines the relationship between nostalgia and identity. It suggests that nostalgia can help facilitate the continuity of identity within a family. In these postmodern times, when it may appear difficult to maintain a coherent attachment with a family history; remembering, recalling, reminiscing, and experiencing nostalgia may create and reinforce a sense of identity that each person so desperately needs. Individually and collectively, the past is remembered and, in this act of recall, it is often re-created.
As an artist I believe it is pertinent to find and draw on inspiration from my environment, from what I know best. My work may refer to sweet childhood memories, may create a warm feeling of nostalgia and may awake long lost family stories, but what I am really questioning is “Am I really where I should be?” by revisiting the past and assessing the present, I am investigating my path.
Objects do not have inherent meaning in themselves. It is we who give them meaning. The meaning that antiques have for individuals who collect them demonstrates a powerful connection to the past; memories of a past that has been experienced as well as an imagined one. Sometimes what adults collect are objects they wish they had when they were young. It is a way to make up for something missing in their past.
“Home acquires special meaning not only as a result of special events that transpired within its walls but also as a living museum of the occupants’ lives where treasured artefacts and identity defining personal possessions are stored and displayed” Rowles & Ravdal
Nostalgia acts as a divine projection on simple household objects and gives them a sense of sacred. A simple glass milk bottle becomes precious. The object may carry a certain magic and can take us back and tell us a story and bring back to life or reveal the presence of long gone family members.
Some of my most precious belongings don’t have any merchant value today but a simple purple bowl with white dots which belonged to my great grand-mother and a white tablecloth with my grandparent’s initials embroidered are priceless to me as I cannot use these items without taking a moment to remember them or time spent with them. The witloof, avocado and cheese salad my great grandmother used to serve when my mother and I would visit or the long family lunch on Christmas Day for which my grandmother would get the nice tablecloth and the silverware out of the cupboard.
But, the most highly significant objects in term of reminiscence are pictures. People pay particular attention in their homes because in doing so they relive memorable occasions and relationships. Pictures produce emotions like no other object.
Some of the photos I will use for the exhibition are of my own family and some are found photos of long forgotten people I wish to resuscitate for a little while in the collective memory.