When we emptied grandmother’s house 3 years ago, I saved some of her everyday-things. Keys, shoes, her cane, the hat that was hanging by the door. This summer I’ve made casts of some of them for the exhibition “In the periphery”, in Koster’s Sculpture Park at Sydkoster, an island on the west coast of Sweden.
Here is part of the process of the keys.
Some of her keys, nobody knows what they once opened.
Dementia can be like opening doors with the wrong keys. Everything gets mixed up, all the places you’ve been and all the people you’ve met behind every door, or behind no door anymore.
First test: concrete.
Result: a fossilised feeling, time has stopped.
Second test: molds for wax casting.
Result: ghost key, fragile and blank like her fading memories.
Ghost keys stuck in concrete.
Saved in jars the keys loose their function even more.
When you make a container you place borders around pieces of emptiness. The emptiness is given shape and becomes a space inside the border.
This space is often used to protect or separate matter of different value from each other or to sort the world to make it easier for us to use. For instance keeping the sugar from being mixed with all the other things on the table until we decide the time has come to mix them, or separating the bones of a saint from all mundane materials inside a reliquary, or building walls to make sure people stay in there assigned places.
In short: to protect what is contained against unwanted influences or to contain and isolate what is unwanted.
The border (the material divider) can itself be used to tell you something of what it encloses and how important it is, and also if it is closing something in or closing something out. But can it also contain the movement between the inside and the outside?
In theory the island has a clearly defined border. But where is it? The shoreline? In that case: low or high tide? Stormy weather or calm waves? Do the rivers belong to the island or to the ocean? And what about islands that are connected during low tide but separated during high tide?
Line: shellac and steel
Tunnel: shellac and fabric
Ocean: shellac and concrete
Tunnel with hand: shellac, fabric and hand
Melting: shellac and fabric
The amazing beauty of shellac in sunlight
As the organizer I wanted to sort the world, draw the lines and put everything in it’s right box. It makes the world understandable. But the categories kept failing and unless you make a box for every single thing you won’t understand the world that way anyway.
Everything changed a little bit to the left.
I wake up at the subway with no idea of where I’m going. Who was I when getting on this train? I look out the window. We create this hard world. Then we create shoes to walk on it without damaging out feet. Lights passing outside in the dark while I’m trying my shoes against the floor.
Everything will move back again to the way it was and they will tell me what station to get off at.
Shellac and fabric box
Collapsing cube of bandage and shellac
Bloated cube of raw hide and concrete
“The stories don’t fit back together, and it’s the end of stories, those devices we carry like shells and shields and blinkers and occasionally maps and compasses.”
From “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit
There used to something living
And the preservation of it keeps it dead forever.