‘Fractured’ is the word most in my thoughts lately for lots of reasons. The other day after a particularly intense session on social media networks, I had my first real experience of feeling fractured. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling.
I’ve also started the curating process for our Core Gallery Open. Rosalind Davis kindly invited me to co-curate the show with her. It is a pleasure to contemplate the works selected for the exhibition. An interesting thing has surfaced; many of the artists speak of a ‘fractured’ kind of experience from the barrage of technology and media. It is visible in the work.
Certainly, the recent riot events around the UK have kept the word ‘fractured’ active in my mind.
I’m also feeling fractured in my personal life because we, my husband and I, are making a major move; we’re moving into our own house. It’s a particularly poignant event because our move coincides with the selling of the house where we have been care-takers for the past four years. This house belongs to an elderly lady, soon to be 100 years old. I’m helping to sort through and move this lady’s household as well as our own.
It’s a strange thing to decide in a second what has value and what does not. I find it hard enough to do with my own things, but with another’s belongings it’s frankly eerie; setting aside the sentiments to look at the stern money value.
The memories, the meaning, the expressions, the sentiments are all laid to rest, swept away in an instant of placing an object in a pile of categorization – this pile goes to the tip, this to the family, this pile to anyone who will take it.
It’s interesting the things that go to the family; photographs, pipes, wallets, hats, desks, walking canes, cameras, favourite chairs, binoculars etc. They are often things that recall an individual; tools of favourite activities, well used accessories, paraphernalia of habits, images frozen in time, places where the person sat or worked. These things trigger memories; perhaps even resurrect the touch or smell of someone dear.
The intensity of memory these things stimulate in us come from touching the objects our loved one touched. We’re reminded of how they carried things or themselves, how they walked, how they sat, how they gazed, how they concentrated. We’re reminded of the life we saw unfolding before us. This sounds like Rowland Barthes in Camera Lucida; ‘I was looking at the eyes who had looked into the eyes of the Dali Lama,’ to paraphrase. I think I need to read that book again.
Is it art? Sure, why not. But art will never convey the deep intense feeling of holding once again a thing that once belonged. I wonder if this is the ultimate limitation of art?