8 December 2011

Fragments of memory

A short article in the latest edition of Crafts magazine caught my eye ... Maria Militsi at the Marsden Woo Project Space, London.  A contemporary jeweller, who uses found objects, and shows her work in a gallery setting.  What could be better?!

I have visited the Marsden Woo Gallery a few times lately, and am growing more comfortable with the atmosphere of the gallery, which is slightly aloof and almost reverential. There is often an edginess to the work that they show, and the artists they represent seem to occupy a land that is both craft and art.  I particularly admire the fact the makers they represent seem to revel in this unique position, and their practices challenge the labels and expectations of the sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows of the fine and applied arts.

In Fragments of Memory, Maria Militsi uses found objects, and makes casts and imprints in silver, as a means of exploring emotional responses to the original objects.  I was particularly interested in how the works were displayed. Her installation Self Portraits has two components.  A collection of found crucifixes in different sizes, styles and materials are hung in the shape of a cross.  This is echoed by an adjacent display of their impressions, cast in silver metal, and hung from small nails directly in the gallery wall, as a single work.  Each individual imprint was for sale, and was supplied with a linen thread and photograph of the original found crucifix.  What a great way to present work - a wearable piece of jewellery, but sold in a package that includes the accompanying narrative.

Maria Militsi, Imprints of Crucifixes, detail (2011), image © Philip Sayer

There were many aspects of Militsi's work that resonated with my practice.  The found objects she chooses, are both ordinary and familiar, yet away from their natural habitat seem strange and new.  The objects I use are broken and fragmented, and seem strange and new initially, but closer investigation reveals their original form or function, and they regain their familiarity.  Caroline Broadhead described Militsi's work as "a collision of opposites: complete and incomplete, faithful and mutinous, melancholic and humorous" (www.marsdenwoo.com).  These conflicts appear logical when made real in Militsi's works, and a delicate silver pendant looks perfectly at home lying across an old, tatty chair, with a 30' long chain cascading to the floor.  

I am excited by contrasts of old and new, expected and unexpected, and suspect that this may be part of the solution to my desire to avoid 'twee' and keep an edginess, and 'dirtiness' (see earlier blog entry, Keeping it dirty) to my practice.

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