According to the book of the same name by author Bruce Chatwin, a Songline is a method of navigation used by Australian aboriginals in the out-back, they literally ‘sing’ their ancestors out of the ground.
This is my version of a Songline. In my search for a fixed anchorage point for my own context I have searched my history and have raised my ancestors. Ghostly, visceral creatures with no fixed state of being, arrested in a moment of ‘conversation’. They seemed happy, almost joyous to be here but were equally as content to slip back into their own dimension when the time came.
During this exhibition a group of five to six year olds from a local school paid us a visit. One child asked me if they were ghosts and could she touch them – out of the mouths of babes.
A continuation of thoughts following my time in Trelex last year, still contemplating other dimensions; seen and unseen, solid or translucent, whole or fractured.
Wondering where extra dimensions might exist I returned to Trelex with thoughts of using snow as a medium, things don’t always work out the way you imagine. The snow was high up, more than knee deep and impossible for me to work in without becoming exhausted and very cold. I needed to improvise and so began to work in the garden.
Fifty feet above Trelex it is snowing, there is a perfect line across the Jura below which the snow stubbornly refuses to appear. According to residents in the village this is a very mild year – not helping ! However, a short car ride away…..
Meanwhile in the village it continues to rain, decimating my garden space.
This might be seen as a desperate attempt to repair rents but it felt ‘right’. I rarely use colour, I find it to be disconcerting, it disturbs my equilibrium and my personal experience of space; so for me to feel the need to use colour is something quite unexpected. This is a big departure from the norm for me, I need time to process what I have intuitively done but I am looking forward to the experience.
Fellow artist Kate Pickin accompanied me here for my second visit, and our time at Trelex is almost over. As before my time here has posed more questions, generating the need for further enquiry, than it has resolved, but that is a good thing. Our sessions with our host Nina Rodin have been wide ranging and insightful, she has brought up several points of interest and it has been good to get her completely neutral and honest viewpoint. I shall return home with a lot to think about.
Kate P and I took the opportunity to visit the Arte Brut Museum in Lausanne. The honesty and generosity of the work there broke my heart at times but I am heartily grateful for seeing it and recommend it to all.
Once again Trelex has proved a rich facilitator for my head and my heart and my soul,
At the point just before its disintegration we say that something is ‘hanging by a thread’. The something is usually something we cherish, follow, study, or admire. Sometimes we regret its demise and we try to preserve and mend it as best we can in order that it may exist a little longer.
This work alludes to that ‘something’ whatever it may be (we all have our personal ‘somethings’ ). The fragile nature of the material within the frame is on the edge of its own existence; visceral, thin, worn to translucency, stretched, pinned and stitched it literally hangs by a thread, which at any moment might fail, leaving in its place the gaping void of nothingness.
The frame, before the collapse of the ‘something’ within, references at this point, the museum case. It enshrines its contents giving them a beauty worth preserving for as long as possible. It gives us a voyeuristic viewpoint, which assists the process of distancing ourselves from the ‘something’ at a gentler pace than speedy impact and shock of its immediate destruction.
Pre and post collapse, the frame also references the frameworks that we exist within, the frame is strong and substantial, it gives the potential for anything to happen, contained within those boundaries. Post collapse the frame and those frameworks, physical, emotional, cultural or imagined remain, new ‘somethings’ grow and flourish within them.