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Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects:
This practice-led research investigates – through artworks comprising of drawings, video, spoken word and installations – issues of cultural and national identity, forms of memoralising, belonging, conflict and loss in relation to a transitional period during the break up of Former Yugoslavia. I am interested in how these issues could be addressed indirectly through avoiding representation of or by employing motifs directly associated with this transitional period and war. These issues are not necessarily directly reflected in my work; rather they have a significant impact on my approach to making work. The question I ask is how can a work of art have both a strong sense of loss and a strong sense of connection to a place? In the process of making work I explore and test different visual references in order to illustrate detachment, displacement and geopolitical fragmentation as processes that reflect the transitional period and disintegration of a country. I do this through developing installations as immersive, disorientating and disintegrating sites. To that extent I employ processes of repetition, recollection, reconstruction and invention in a variety of media. In the process of drawing and painting my aim is to articulate states of flux, flexibility and change through experimenting with the use of different media and methods of practice. The space of the gallery, the context in which the work is shown and the visitors’ interpretation of the space are an important aspect of the work. The installations are composed of works reconstructed and remade in a variety of media in order to destabilise forms of presentation and to develop different and shifting angles on the topics I work with. In order for work to have a conversation and connection with its own past I re-stage and re-build one aspect of work on to another, such that works become cumulative. Through producing works that evolve from earlier works the intention is to foreground multiple readings and perceptions of places. My intention is to investigate the influence that dislocation may have on the move from a geopolitical to an imaginary landscape. I develop a methodology that explores travelling and forgetting as metaphors, thematic elements and artistic strategies for displacement and change. In practice, this is examined through spatial models that allude to fixity and mobility, the real and the imaginary: the museum, the monument and the ship at sea. The experience of the Balkan wars informed my initial work for the research, part of which was to look at symbols like monuments and museums. I sought concepts that relate to this problem, finding that memory/memorialising and forgetting are conditions that I specifically associate with the work of Jan Kampenaers and David Maljković. I considered amnesia and amnesty as suggestive concepts of questionable stability and loss, which informed my subsequent work (supported by reference to the writings of Paul Ricoeur). The thesis submission includes the presentation of an exhibition of artwork, with published art books and a vinyl record.
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