I am interested in “a person’s desire or longing to transfer another person’s appearance,” and that is what motivates me to make works.
By “another person’s appearance,” I mean those faces or appearances of people called up by memory, or that despite not existing in reality, do so in a person’s imagination. In other words, the transferring of another’s appearance as I consider it here is something that arises not from superficial appearances or forms, but from what one imagines that appearance to be, and by extension the desire or longing that spawns that imagining.
This could be tracing the shadow of a loved one—a family member, friend or lover—in order to hold on to vestiges of their appearance, or a married couple who have a portrait made to show their relationship and keep images of each other’s appearance, or retaining the bodily fluids of a deceased person transferred onto the cloth used to wrap their remains, so as to leave a trace of that person’s existence, or any number of other acts of repeated transfer to other media, even if that transfer becomes something far removed from the original appearance.
Such interests have led me to make paintings using dyeing techniques, installations employing reflections in mirrors and from photographs and images projected as light particles, and gelatin silver prints on plate glass.
The motifs I transfer through dyeing, such as the unstrung bow carried by Psyche, and shadows of lovers now gone, possess an inherent incompleteness and impossibility. Each of these subjects has its own individual meaning, yet harbors within it something devoid of function, or a motivation that begs to be transferred, though cognizant of the impossibility of doing so.
S died young.
I only learned of his death during a telephone call with his father E, when casually asking how things had been lately.
It was so out of the blue I initially thought I’d misheard.
For a moment my mind went blank,
unable to adjust to what I’d just been told.
Bewilderedly, so as to take the news on board,
I asked when S had died, and how.
But E himself seemed to have only found out a few days earlier through someone else, and didn’t know the details.
I could only speculate, going by previous events.
On this occasion E said of his son S, “He seems to have opened up Pandora’s Box, suffered a series of troubles, and been swallowed up by them.”
His next words were,
“Sure that doesn’t sound like you too?”
For E to liken S’s situation up to his death to Pandora’s Box was totally unexpected,
and for some reason, I found the phrase niggled at me.
Es use of the metaphor of Pandora’s Box here doubtless referred to what are generally known as the various troubles contained in Pandora’s Box.
Meanwhile, in Greek mythology, the opening of the large jar carried by Pandora released miseries and evils of every sort, bringing disaster to the world, with only “hope (expectation)” remaining, on the rim of the jar.
E’s chance mention of Pandora made me realize that in the Greek myth, not only did the opening of Pandora’s jar bring troubles, in the end, remaining in the jar (box) was hope, or expectation.
As to whether this being left in the jar was the best outcome or not, indeed various interpretations are possible, but personally, on learning that what remained in Pandora’s jar was hope (expectation), I couldn’t help sensing a salvation of sorts in the story.
(As theories abound around the details of the original myth, I will continue on the understanding that there are differing interpretations and errors when it comes to what remained in the jar.)
A number of questions also crossed my mind.
Did S, already gone, really see only trouble?
One can now only imagine what kind of situation he was in.
But I can only pray that if possible, he can see hope before him, and find happiness.
I see making works as something that motivates me to find that hope.