Memories often are described colloquially as being woven into our brains, threaded through our minds in ways that affect our every day. For Cécile Davidovici, though, memories and lengthy stitches hold a different relationship, and weaving her thread paintings is a process of remembering rather than the state of the memory itself. The Paris-based artist sources the content of her series <<1988 from home videos taken by her parents throughout her upbringing. “When my mother died, I started watching VHS tapes from my childhood,” she tells 60 Second Docs about her current projects. “I use primarily cotton and linen. I find it evokes the same warmth I feel when I think of my childhood.”
Despite having a background film, Davidovici said in a statement that she was drawn to textile arts after her mother’s death because it was tangible and allowed her to “anchor herself in the moment.” Although her preferred medium has changed, the artist said “the stories of innocence and illusions remained, now tinted with irrepressible nostalgia, and with a desire to capture memories and to immortalize past moments.” Some of Davidovici’s dense embroideries, which can take as many as five weeks to complete, are available in her shop. Find more of her reflective work on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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The Japanese visual artist Atsushi Adachi creates miniature replicas of objects from the past using old newspaper clippings and articles sourced from the same period. Artifacts from history like battleships and Neil Armstrong’s space suit come alive in what Adachi describes as a meditation on memories of our collective memory.
Adachi chooses to work with newspaper because be believes that the medium embodies society’s values of that certain period. Like time, our values are fluid and ever-changing, influenced by events of the world that we often find ourselves swallowed up by.
By working with newspaper clippings from certain periods, Adachi gains an understanding of what was going through the minds of designers and creators of that time as they tirelessly worked on creating machines of science, adventure and sometimes war.
If you’re in New York, Adachi’s work is part of an exhibition titled “Emerging Tokyo” that’s on view in East Harlem from December 3 – December 7, 2019. The address is 213 East 121st Street. You can also keep up with Adachi’s work on Instagram. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
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In his series Chronicle: Passing (6,393 Per Hour), artist Greg Sand creates analog super-edits of the repeated patterns found in old photographs. Drapery, flowers, shoes, shadows, hands, and faces are homed in on and grouped into enormous grids, representing the simultaneous enormity and specificity of human death. As the series’ title notes, approximately 6,393 people around the world die every hour. Each small black-and-white or sepia-toned image is from an ambiguous past era, though hairstyles and clothing offer clues to every individual’s specific moment in time.
Sand tells Colossal that the biggest challenge was collecting all the images he needed; he relied on eBay and local antique stores to source the thousands of old photographs. Using a half inch or one inch punch, Sand framed each visual element in a small square, and arranged them manually. “I was intrigued by the interactions of the various textures, values, and colors that developed,” Sand explains. “I found my eye bouncing around from light to dark, from matte to glossy, from bright to dull, from textured to smooth. The pieces became like pixelated masses from a distance that required getting very close to discover each image individually.”
Sand explains that he hopes the series sparks a reflection in the viewer on how memories fragment. Childhood recollections may focus on specific details like the clothing or gestures of a loved one. “Photographs function in a similar manner. They do not show a whole person or an entire life, but instead capture a single moment,” Sand says. “These keepsakes help determine some of the pieces of memory that stick with us.”
See the artist’s work in person at Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina in the exhibition Small Works | Big Impact, which opens November 14, 2019.
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Still life photographer Ellen Cantor meditates on memories imbued in familiar objects. In her series ‘Prior Pleasures’, Cantor uses her childhood book collection to create multiple exposure images documenting the literary loves of her youth. Each image features a single book on a black background, with the pages ablur between the illustrations, cover, and end page art.
The photographer shares that she finds inspiration in Abelardo Morell’s camera obscura work, challenging her to “explore the myth of the photographic truth and… create a new way of looking at childhood icons.” Cantor seeks to capture the pleasure of losing oneself within the page of a book, a tactile experience that has become more rare with the advent of e-readers and the competing content on smartphones.
“My photographs are about time, loss and memory. I seek to understand how life proceeds and then ultimately disappears, the artist explains. “I document the artifacts of the past to enrich the present. I am interested in reimagining the family photo album and objects that hold personal histories in order to explore the distillation and persistence of memory.”
Cantor is based in southern California, and is represented by dnj gallery and Susan Spiritus Gallery in California and Truth + Beauty in Vancouver. The ‘Prior Pleasures’ series was most recently exhibited at the West Hollywood Library in spring 2019. You can explore more of Cantor’s memory-soaked photography on her website.
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Artist David Chatt explores his past, family, and memories in all-white works created using found objects and minuscule white beads. Whereas earlier work was more purely decorative, like his colorful Breakfast Set (2004), over the last several years Chatt has simplified his color palette and plumbed the emotional depths of his life for more emotionally-engaged work.
In pieces created over the past several years, Chatt has drawn specifically from his personal and family history, selecting meaningful objects like a boombox from the early 1980s, the contents of his late parents’ nightstand, and the tools his mother used to create innumerable meals. Using glass beads and thread, the artist carefully covers each object, and he describes the act of covering as a means of both sealing off and protecting his memories. He shares with Colossal, “This process has the power to transform an object that, might as easily be relegated to land fill, into something precious and a record of a time, place or experience, something that encourages my audience to reflect on their own experiences and complete the story that I have begun.”
Chatt studied design at Western Washington University, Bellingham, in the late 1980s, where he recalls that a 6-foot-five male pursuing beadwork was not warmly embraced. Over the years, he has continued to refine his beadwork through post-secondary study. You can see work from Chatt in a group exhibition at Denmark’s Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in 2019, and in “A New State of Matter: Contemporary Glass” at Boise Art Museum in Idaho from November 3, 2018 to February 3, 2019, a group show which includes work from Steffan Dam (previously) and Amber Cowan (previously). (thnx, Diana!)
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Media artist Refik Anadol’s work Melting Memories combines data paintings, light projections, and augmented data sculptures to visibly demonstrate how the brain recalls memories. The installation was created with a custom 16 x 20 foot LED media wall and CNC milled rigid foam, and was shown earlier in 2018 at Pilevneli Gallery in Istanbul. In the work, seething swirls move across the work’s surface, resembling cresting ocean waves, blossoming flowers, and shifting sand.
To generate the data, Anadol conducted experiments at the Neuroscape Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. An artist statement describes the technical process: “Anadol gathers data on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control from an EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures changes in brain wave activity and provides evidence of how the brain functions over time. These data sets constitute the building blocks for the unique algorithms that the artist needs for the multi-dimensional visual structures on display.”
Anadol is a media artist and director who specializes in site-specific public art that explores the intersection of physical and digital reality. Born in Istanbul, the artist is now based in Los Angeles, where he is a visiting researcher and lecturer at UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts. You can see more of his work on his website, as well as on Instagram, Vimeo, and Behance.
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