Wednesday, 19 September 2007
My mother has golden hair
When I was in 6th grade I told the girl sitting next to me in class that my mom had golden hair. She wasn’t impressed. I remembered this when I was thinking about titles for this work: an everyday object transformed into something that expresses a set of new emotions and fantasies. The daughter’s longing to be like the mother she idealises. The artificial blond hair which has been obsessively threaded into the brush maybe putting into doubt the reality of the mother’s beauty and the daughter’s perception as well as the possibility of ever becoming like her idol. The work has a strong performative element and questions gender as well as the reality and fictions of the mother-daughter or in fact any formative relationship. It is now itself an object of beauty – with the mane of soft blond hair flowing from the brush and replacing its original steely bristles it is simultaneously tender and creepy, enchants and withholds.
My mom has just returned back home after flying over to spend some time with me in my new flat. We’ve had several lovely days together, and the warm and sunny weather all the while was like a special treat. I’d told her about my blog on the telephone but as she doesn’t have access to a computer she couldn’t really imagine what it would be like. One afternoon we sat down here and I showed it to her and translated some of the texts I’d written and the comments given too. She was astonished and delighted with what she saw and esp. marvelled at the possibility of being in touch with artists in other parts of the world. She finds most of my art strange and difficult and doesn’t know what to say, but she took photographs of my shelves which are stacked with my work and I take that as an indication of her being proud of what I choose to do after all.
This is a piece she likes and can relate to: a woman’s life in shoes. The shoes are made from very light, almost translucent off-white bone-coloured Japan paper which seems on the verge of disintegration while you handle it, and are moulded in the thinnest of layers on seven pairs of worn shoes which represent various stages in a woman’s life. Esp. the last pair in the series has resonance for me, as it was moulded on a pair given to me by a friend, Ruth, who was in her 80s at the time and is now sadly dead. The shoes had taken on the form of her old-woman’s-feet, bunions and all.
(Both pieces were made a couple of years ago.)