In this work paint and plaster is poured out to create a pool of colours. Left to harden and then broken into rubble and chaos and strewn across the gallery floor to echo my felt and lived experience of fragility. Like skin the materials have qualities that can be broken, punctured and cut, opening up cracks and wounds. Creative processes can be tools for mental health, here my practice is like a stress relief, a valve that can be pulled, a place of activation of the self. Cathartic and physical, the work is a document of self-care.
In the installation forms are broken down and rebuilt into a larger ecology. Scattered and brittle the viewer navigates the forms, through this encounter each person becomes aware of their own bodies in relationship to this fragile field.
What is fragility? The definition of fragile is the quality of being easily broken or damaged, vulnerable or delicate. What can be considered being fragile? Perhaps anything can be considered as fragile? If so, what does it mean or feel to be easily destroyed or being fractured into pieces? What do we feel when something is made perfect but it then gets demolished?
A process driven, material exploration of plaster has become the focus of my work. Plaster is mainly used as a building material for protective or decorative walls, ceilings, moulding, and casting. It is such a soft substance when being mixed and hardens when dry but stays brittle and fragile once set. I have been interested in making these textured surfaces of plaster as fragile as possible with the intention to break their delicate structure. I ask myself this, how would it feel to break a beautiful coloured piece of plaster? Do I feel guilty? Do I have to break it? Would I be sad or maybe satisfied? Every process throughout the making of this work is driven by gesture, there is a sense of a performative act in mixing, pouring, spreading, scraping, breaking and smashing the plaster. It is like storytelling, starting neutral then comes with the twisted climax.
To construct and then deconstruct an artwork is to speak another language. The beauty within each gesture and movement being made on the plaster surface illustrates and records a presence of fluidity. I am interested in creating a sensation of touch and tension between the artwork and the viewer, to observe their reaction towards the material, the environment and the installation. To be able to have the urge to feel, touch, step on, grab and crush it. I desire to create an intense experience for the viewers and to experience the work, as artist Ilya Kabakov stated:
“The main actor in the total installation, the main centre toward which everything is addressed, for which everything is intended, is the viewer.”
Each component and element here, is to be seen as a collective installation. This installation allows me to consider each little piece of work to be seen as a collection, uniting together to become one – I think about both the microscopic and macroscopic. Each element is arranged differently in the space, each piece exists in their own way, working together in delicate and fragile complexity.
Ann Marie Niap