Artists’ Books Exhibition, UWE, Bristol, UK
We experience loss in different ways. Loss of expectation, loss of life, loss of love, loss of memory. We mourn loss, question loss and fear loss. We are formed by how loss touches our lives in its many fashions. Each of these books looks at a different idea of loss – how it resides within us, and how we process it.
The two books Telling Time and Anamnesis are centered on the slow loss of memory resulting from Alzheimer’s disease. In Telling Time the memory loss is mourned as a repeated single image printed on sheer silk organza begins to fade to white. With the turn of each page this special memory of a day at the beach, too, is forever gone. Anamnesis represents the fear of memory loss. Pages sewn into the concertina are tied together and only partially accessible, while cut windows are obstructed with metal and string. The inaccessibility of the pages is suggestive of a lost memory and the futile struggle to retrieve it. Both books illustrate my personal unease with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
I remember how we met and winter stayed late focus on the loss of life and the idea of burial, both as the metaphorical burial of memories or emotions, as well as in the literal sense of burying the dead. Hand felted wool is the primary material in both of these books making reference to the Burial in Woollen Acts of Parliament. Between the wool pages of I remember how we met handwritten text printed on silk organza is layered in semi-legible rushes of memory that swell with the death of someone mournfully loved. These memories and their emotional attachments are neatly buried with the turn of each page. In winter stayed late text is printed onto cotton handmade paper and caringly pinned onto each wool page. The narrative within describes the monotony of winter that becomes interrupted by the anticipation of childbirth, followed by the emptiness of miscarriage. The few words demonstrate how kept quiet miscarriage really is.
My work is heavily influenced by notions of identity created by personal histories, memories, and perception. The narrative is found within singular moments through the use of repeated imagery or text, recalling deeply personal events or memories, as these books do. In the course of remembering or reflecting there is an occasion to stay and fixate on moments. It is within that space that my work finds itself – in that moment of recall, preoccupation, even obsession.
Monday – Friday 10am-4pm. Please check before travelling, email: Sarah.Bodman@uwe.ac.uk