Making and Unmaking
This piece attempts to represent the unrepresentable, and through this attempt exposes the cyclical process involved in life, love, and growth. It presents dichotomies related to lived experience and knowledge. The physical activity of shredding (shedding) the documentation of one's life to allow one to begin again is "placed next to" the desire and philosophical activity to shred (shed) one's learned knowledge with a similar intention. The photograph and copied text, the magazine advertisements and the printed text, are items which signify either (and/or both) the experienced and learned aspects of our social construction and knowledge.
Paralleling these actions of unmaking and unlearning is the act of weaving. Through this gendered act, the reconstruction of the making and learning process is begun. Freud has written of weaving (and plaiting) in his femininity lectures as possibly the only contribution women have made to civilization. The act of making, both weaving from remnants of shredded materials and/or a gender specific act such as birthing a child, suggests a more collaborative and inclusive approach to our human construction. To recognize that we are all the sum of many parts (shreds, pieces, cells) allows for the emergence of a non-exclusionary dialogue. Thus, how the pieces are re-configured and the whole construction is interpreted, ultimately will determine the viability of such an act.
As the artist, I have begun on this making and unmaking, learning and unlearning, and constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing. I have begun to shred my life and re-configure the fragments into a new construction/representation. Unlearning and unmaking my constructed persona/gender with the intention of reconstructing a new "image" from the existing pieces. This is an act of acceptance and contrition, as well as a process of self-confirmation.
This work presents viewers with large piles of shredded materials, including photographs, past artworks, copied texts, magazine advertisements, junk mail, etc. Amidst this pile are found two functioning paper shredders and materials available for the viewer to participate in the shredding of the artist's life. Emerging from the fragments is a large (@ 52" x 9') woven image containing all the elements from the original materials. The image is recognizable as a human figure, but gender identification and specific physical attributes are unidentifiable.
Copyright © 2020 Margaret Hart