Fiona Roberts‘ new show Intimate Vestiges is a collection of wonderful and weird objects. She loves taking mundane items and adding creepy details to them. Items that we are used to seeing in our house everyday now seem to be encroaching on our personal space, and even seem to be a bit threatening. Roberts has transformed a simple chair into an anthropomorphized Frankenstein creature: the leather sections now feature tiny pink gaping mouths, baring their teeth and ready to chomp at whatever touches them. The menacing orifices are bordered by shiny plaited strands of hair; the legs of the chair wrapped in the same hair. The chair seems to have murdered the occupant of the house, and now wears the attributions of it’s victim on the outside.
Intimate Vestiges deals with questions of the ‘other’ – what is human, and where do our human bodies, memories and experiences end? We undoubtedly transfer these emotions into the objects around us – but what keeps them as foreign bodies? As writer Stephanie Lyall asks:
What can constitute humanity? At what point does a collection of disparate parts become a being? How much of a body can be rearranged before becoming something ‘other’? (Source)
Roberts’ sculptures have a beautiful philosophical poetry embedded in them. She has pillows made from plaster frozen in the middle of a kiss. They seem frozen and unable to enjoy their passion. They pillow lovers are able to extract empathy from us immediately. She has a rug made made from hundreds of ceramic fingers that might make us think twice about treading so heavily on our own carpets at home. Roberts has the power to make us re-evaluate the inanimate objects around us we take for granted and combines our outside worlds with our inside worlds.
From February-March 2007, the artists installed ‘Antarctic Village’ in Antarctica, travelling from Buenos Aires aboard the Hercules KC130 flight on an incredible journey. Taking place during the Austral summer, the ephemeral installation coincided with the last of the scientific expeditions before the winter months, before the ice mass becomes too thick to traverse. Aided by the logistical crew and scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base situated on the Seymour-Marambio Island, (64°14’S 56°37’W), Jorge Orta scouted the continent by helicopter, searching for different locations for the temporary encampment of their 50 dome-shaped dwellings. Antarctic Village is a symbol of the plight of those struggling to transverse borders and to gain the freedom of movement necessary to escape political and social conflict. Dotted along the ice, the tents formed a settlement reminiscent of the images of refugee camps we see so often reported about on our television screens and newspapers. Physically the installation Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites.
The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people. Here the arm of face-less white-collar worker’s shirt hangs, there the sleeve of a children’s sweater. Together the flags and dissected clothes emblazoned with silkscreen motifs referencing the UN Declaration for Human Rights make for a physical embodiment of a ‘Global Village’.
Our fine friend Brian Bonus from VIMBY recently did an amazing video profile on us for our anniversary issue Z and art show. It’s a great piece- Amir discusses the very first black and white issues of Beautiful/Decay ever made all the way to our most recent issue! Watch as ten years becomes 4 minutes….
Artist Zsuzsi Csiszer’s installation may at first seem massively out of place. An actual subway car emerges out of the floor into the Museum Kiscelli in Budapest. It seems poised to make a stop and move on to its next otherworldly destination. The subway clearly references a journey – one of more significance than just from one neighborhood to another. More importantly perhaps, subway cars transport groups of people. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but the piece is similar to a larger journey we all make. One in which we share with various people who come and go.