Bird people

Exhibition, 2004

Bird people_2003, general view

Flying Zoo, 2004, 180cm x 160cm cut out photograph

Flying Zoo_2004, 180x160 cm, cut out photograph

bird people, 2003, 300cm x 6cm cut out photographs

Bird people_2003, 300x6 cm, cut out photographs

sisters dancing, 2004, 250cm x 130cm cut out photographs

Sisters dancing_2004, 250x130 cm, cut out photographs

Fatima flying, 2004, 120cm x 180cm cut out photograph

Fatima flying_2004, 120x180 cm, cut out photograph

Zoo as sky, sky as Zoo, 2004, 250cm x 120cm cut out photograph and white adhesive tape

Zoo as sky, sky as Zoo_2004, 250x120 cm, cut out photograph and white adhesive tape

Turi with wings, 2004, 50cm x 50cm cut out photograph

Turi with wings_2004, 50x50 cm, cut out photograph

Maggie Cardelus
Bird-People
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
September-October 2004

What is memory if not aesthetic, if not a feeling associated with a disappearing image? It is emotion longing for lucidity. It is image taken to the brink of non-existence; the moment of vanishing. Memory does this even when it caged, like a bird.

Snapshots will take us immediately to memory: at least, at most, to an idea of memory. Snapshots are tyrannical and dictate to us how we should remember. Sooner or later what we remember most is the snapshot. The cut-outs help me understand at what point snapshots release memory so that it can move freely again.

This group of works shows people in my snapshots turning into birds. Seeing them I think of Ovid and the power the Gods had to transform humans into plants or animals…a form of release.

Bird People (the work), is a kind of memory site, where bird bones are layered with gestural drawings. What began as a portrait of a relationship between two people becomes how their stories now coexist with my own. Fatima, in Fatima Flying, pre-figured her flight about fifty years ago; Zoo became the sky a few months ago. Turi with Wings resists flight, whereas Flying Zoo plunges into the folding space of involuntary memory. Feathers dances in space and waves like dune grass, recalling a moment when four girls danced in costume on a beach deck looking like four tropical birds.

Together, the works describe how memory is negotiated into forms that describe the complexity of remembering, of constructing memory, of inheriting memory, of forgetting. Most importantly, they find a way to bring the past into the present continuum, into the now, to be experienced in the now. Metamorphosis drains the image of its specific burdens, giving it new life.

Maggie Cardelús