Exhibitions12 01 2019 — 14 02 2019
HELEN BRITTON Ephemeral Phenomena
Pictograms constructed in stone. They formed on my table almost by themselves; while sliding the piles around animals and insects and flowers appeared, like watching clouds or reading tealeaves.
What to do? As we consume our planet, deplete the quota of resources earlier and earlier each year, it is difficult to justify the production of even more things. All I can do is carefully use up what I already have. These stones were collected over my lifetime, many surplus or seconds, cut by hands that can no longer be paid to do the work, in such masses that they still lie around in piles on tidelines of human activity, specific geographic locations resulting from trade shifts and economic failure. Some shapes meticulously formed by remarkable crafts people, thin and fragile and delicate, a contradiction to the materials they are made from. Some cut long ago, in a world that no longer exists.
I have started building gardens of stone, portraits of fragile little lives carefully made to last several hundred years if not longer. Reminders of what we hold in our hands, a metaphor for our responsibility. I ask of everything: Where did you come from? Who made you? What were the circumstances of your production? What changed as a result of you being in my hand now? Simultaneous micro and meta levels, again the small and the large refrain. The beautiful colours of the minerals in these rocks are not lost on me, formed in our planet millennia ago, dug and blasted from the earth to be traded, some precious, some as ships ballast, to be cut by individuals most of who's names we will never know. And all this activity for what?
Materials and their tales, the trail they leave across space, time, history. And now here I am adding to their story. So let them be worn and treasured and traded and blessed for what they represent, and for the metaphor they contain.
(© Galerie Rob Koudijs)