Extract taken from Christie Browns conference paper: ‘Embodying Transformation’. To access the paper in its entirety select Brown’s link from the recommended reading list.
In 1997 I was commissioned by the Women’s Playhouse Trust to make a body of work for the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in London. This exhibition eventually emerged in the year 2000 after some delays, due to the very ambitious project the WPT was engaged in to transform this derelict industrial building into an art space. The exhibition was the most challenging body of work I had ever produced and the overall title of the show was Fragments of Narrative. This title encapsulates many of the ideas and themes, which I continue to address in my ceramic practice.
My figurative practice relates to discourses from archaeology and psychoanalysis and the symbolic parallel between these disciplines. The archaeological process can be compared to psychoanalysis, in which layer after layer is carefully stripped away in Search of a fragmented truth which can offer insight and knowledge or transformation and healing. Fragments of statuary and pottery shards provide us with information about the past. From the academies of the early Renaissance to contemporary museology, the study of these archaic scraps offer knowledge, a way of learning, and provide us with stories about our ancestors, however incomplete these narratives may be.
Inspired by narratives that make reference to myths of creation, and objects from burial sites which embody rites of passage, my work connects to the viewer through the overlap between the personal and the universal. While exploring the transformative qualities of clay and the metaphorical associations of the casting process, it exploits the material’s capacity to receive an imprint connecting to ideas about mimesis and the patterns of repetition in human life.
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Recommended Reading Published on ICRC:
From Fragments to Icons: Stages in the Making and Exhibiting of the Casts of Pompeian Victims, 1863–1888
Heads and Bodies: Fragments and Restoration
Babette Martini: The Body Undone: Fragmentation in Process