Tuesday, 11 November 2008
After my enforced art-break I’m slowly starting to pick up the threads. This is the last paper figure I finished, in July I think, and as she’s sitting in a shelf just above me I’ve been looking at her a lot. She is only slightly bigger than my other figures, yet appears heavy and almost monumental. I’ve made her differently, wrapped the newsprint less tightly; there is more looseness, openness, in parts less definition of form. She seems on the verge of becoming or disintegration, and looking down at herself in wonderment. Let me fly with that: Maybe she’s not recognising herself in human form, having undergone a kind of reverse metamorphosis from mineral or animal form. Consciousness of her (new) self would be arising slowly. I imagine her getting a sense of herself by ‘feeling’ her body from the inside, sensorily scanning it, perceiving the mysterious warmth of her form, the as yet uncanny vibrations of breath, the unsteady heartbeat, moving and stretching her limbs tentatively, and assembling her impressions almost blindly. I wonder what it would feel like to wake up armless, but winged and beaked and bedecked in feathers. Or, even more difficult to imagine: having been a rock for aeons, to find soft-skinned nakedness and mutability and being unable to name this incongruous newness? I don’t think the terror would be any less this way around.
We all experience some of this – that moment when we wake up and briefly, terrifyingly do not know who/what/where we are. When we look in the mirror and find our mother or father staring back at us. Or when we are confronted with the physical and mental changes brought by ageing or illness. This summer I found I could not recognise my knees, their shape had shockingly altered – this new (or rather oldish) pair was sagging and I’d not seen the change coming.
Materials: newsprint and masking tape
Dimensions: 39 cm x 16 cm x 38 cm