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


Erin said...

threads picked up and dusted off have a fertility after the fallow period of silence, don't they?

This new figure and the narrative she embodies is rich in the puzzlement that follows us from child to teen to grown and back down again. We seem to think that some day we might stay the same from day to day, but when we pay attention closely those two days never meet.

I so appreciate the way your writing gives history to your makings, the way you say more rather than less. I am finding it hard to do that with my own work, feeling insecure sometimes in that what I say is too much or perhaps that the sum might equal less than its parts.

Glad you've shown back up I've missed you.

Marjojo said...

Thank you, Erin. It's not that I don't at times feel insecure about the writing I post here with my artwork - I esp. worry about saying more than can ever be found in the work -, but on the other hand I enjoy the writing so much. In trying to formulate my thoughts for this blog in a way that pleases and interests me I'm often lead further than I'd get if I was just thinking for myself. It's something that happens too when making art, doesn't it, it can take us beyond what we initially conceive and these surprises make the artist's/writer's heart skip.
And don't hide your light under a bushel – the ways you interweave the personal with the public, the contemporary with history, in both your art and in your writing, is often beautiful and always really really interesting, informative, moving, challenging...