Artist's statement: Georgina Calder 'Arranging Retrieved Memory' Final Master's Exhibition 2018
This body of work stems from a series of experiences centred on the loss of things and people as young adults, resulting in a hyper-awareness of the impermanence of everything in life.
'Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity'.
This statement has always resonated strongly with me, as did the Dutch Vanitas paintings, named after this saying, which depicted skulls, decaying fruit and wilting flowers, hourglasses and extinguished candles, both to be interpreted as a reminder of the brevity of life and the impermanence of all things.
Because of this, I began to explore archival practice and methods of retaining information. My thesis is based on the concept of memory and how memories are encoded, stored and retrieved. This influenced my creative practice as I began to mimic the process of memory, which can be seen in the way I collect, alter and then reinterpret and display the birds' nests using the ceramic medium, which follows a similar sequential process to that of memory.
I began to encode objects with metaphors, which represented my memories. I felt precious of these memories as they were pre-loss and I became increasingly aware of their fragility. The use of metaphors also offered me ways of incorporating sensitive and private information that I did not want displayed explicitly. These came in the form of local birds and their nests.
This led me to question the value humans ascribe to an object, particularly privately sentimental objects in a home collection. I became aware of the significance of the ceramic vessel as a container of information. In this exploration, I began to find parallels between the ceramic medium and memory and observed how, in the making of ceramic wares, the process of making was recorded by the plastic clay, and then permanently embedded in the fired ceramic body.
I see this body of work as an exploration of the ways to memorialise my memories.