FLOATING WALLS AND TECTONIC ZIGGURATS | EAST GALLERY
MARCH 1 - APRIL 7, 2018
Floating Walls and Tectonic Ziggurats.
Looking at a tree over time, leaves appear from the branch tips and the trunk gets wider. It emerges from seedling no smaller than the size of a finger, and then over time, it twists, forks and bulges, towering beyond my grasp. I became curious how this happens, from where does the force build? What are the small changes happening every moment that accumulate as a tree ages, and make it slowly disintegrate to dust? With these ideas and questions in mind I began to create my own work using processes of subtraction and accumulation.
For example, I’ve explored subtractive processes in burning through walls of layered paper as a method of slow erosion. Carving and drawing into the paper using the ember from a stick of incense, I reveal the deeper layers. The burned sections allow the paper to move and breathe. The burning is an irreversible physical change that cannot be undone—a death. The breathing movement of the paper suggests an addition—life. Herein lies a beautiful paradox, simultaneous existence of life and death, of love and loss.
Instinctively drawn to incense, it became my tool to draw and carve the paper. In ceremony, incense is burned as an offering to the spirits and the dead, and in some traditions as ritual of purifying space. Paper’s simple and ephemeral fragility, a surface to record thoughts, interactions and plans, is also used to wrap and package. This thin yet structural layer brings to our skin or cell membranes, or perhaps even the structures that we build for protection and for community.
The ancient terraced, complex and massive pyramid-like structures known as ziggurats were believed to be a way to connect the heavens and the earth. The idea of the ziggurat and the diagrams or blueprints of other sacred spaces served as inspiration as I created my small early sketch-like mandala works. Then, I began creating the monumental “floating wall” pieces to address this larger idea—the paradox of life and death—in a scale larger than the human body and in a vulnerable form that interacts with the open space.