Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Our Notebook (in review)

The text on the tape reads:

"Good morning! This is God
I will be handling All of you Problems today!
I will not need Your help,
so have a miraculous day."

Ani added the wings.

I continue to be baffled by the double meaning of our correspondence and how everything has this double meaning that I did not see then and is so clear now. The notebook is full of discussions centered around death and life. 

The text is about birth and death. It reads:

"I remember a wise friend saying, 
'when you can't take it anymore,
there is nothing to take!'

Ani's image of a tied up tree.

under the tree it reads:

"The greatest pain in my life, when I finally decided to go there, swept me, my ego, aside and rushed through me, delivering my daughter into this world, and passed, Like all things, it subsided, a little death. I would like another just to feel that strength again.

It is a dark, (scary) place where you are most vulnerable, most true and most alive."

Below is my artist statement for the Millay Colony:

At the Millay Colony, I intend to create an installation using objects, text and images from mine and a fellow artist’s, decade long collaboration. I want to reconnect with Anitra Haendel who was a very close friend, collaborator and fellow artist, and who unfortunately took her life, this year on July 23rd . I want to redefine death, seeing it not as an end, but a point in a continuum. The reason I specifically chose the Millay Colony was because Ani and I planned on attending together, having read and been inspired by, “Savage Beauty,” less than three years ago. I hope to fulfill that promise and continue our over decade long collaboration.

I question time, its linearity, and work with materials that are malleable in order to express transfiguration. Be it postcards, clay, canvas, egg shells, paper, dust on contact paper, salvaged bars of soap, or my grandmother’s bandages that she wraps around her knees daily for her aches and pains cursing my grandfather for making her ride on his motorcycle in the cold Czech winters.  Each item carries a history that I rework and then rewrite.  I erase, sand, paint, reveal, melt of one substance into another, stick, melt again, and perhaps evaporate. In What Remains?,  I paint my grandfather’s portrait in clay on a porcelain cup, fill the cup with water and let it spill, washing my grandfather’s face nearly off. (images 6 &7)  Another example is Mutual Cleanse, where I rub an Oil of Olay bar with a portrait of my great-grandmother on it on my pregnant belly nearly fading her image. (image 10)

I’ve been working with the dead since my cousin’s passing (I never asked how) twenty years ago. Her untimely death in her mid-thirties, was a shock that I could slowly cope with through working with her image, her letters, and her drawings. The small scraps left over.  But the theme of loss comes from much earlier in childhood, as we emigrated from the Czech Republic and left everyone behind not being able to return for 5 years. To an 8 year old, five years equals a lifetime. First it was the objects, the precious mail sent between my grandparents and I. Little remnants of ‘home.’ Upon my return to CZ in my teens and every two years thereafter, I had to acknowledge the continuum, not only my own, but also that of my native land.  Things don’t disappear. They change.

The theme of a continuum past death and now as a parent of before and after birth is what motivates the bulk of my work. I question our physicality. The investigation gets more and more subtle and the material becomes more and more immaterial in its final form.

1 comment:

AngelaVoulgarelis said...

Thank you for sharing this Tereza. I have Anitra in my thoughts all the time, and it's so great to know her work with you lives your continuum...I hope you get the residency, your statement really resonates strongly. xo