William Mora Galleries

Neil Emmerson - (I was his...) Accompanied by Anne Ooms

17 August - 10 September 2005

Neil Emmerson
(I was his...)

2005, artist proof etching (suite of 31), 25 x 20 cm cm

Neil Emmerson
(I was his...)

2005, artist proof etching (suite of 31), 25 x 20 cm cm

Neil Emmerson
(I was his...)

2005, artist proof etching (suite of 31), 25 x 20 cm cm

Neil Emmerson
(I was his...)

2005, plaster cast shoe (ed of 10)

Neil Emmerson & Anne Ooms
(I was his...) & The Journey of Unspoken Things

2005, Installation of shaved & dyed blankets, etchings, polystyrene & flock sculptures

Neil Emmerson & Anne Ooms
(I was his...) & The Journey of Unspoken Things

2005, Installation of shaved & dyed blankets, etchings, polystyrene & flock sculptures

Neil Emmerson & Anne Ooms
(I was his...) & The Journey of Unspoken Things

2005, Installation of shaved & dyed blankets, etchings, polystyrene & flock sculptures

Neil Emmerson & Anne Ooms
(I was his...) & The Journey of Unspoken Things

2005, Installation of shaved & dyed blankets, etchings, polystyrene & flock sculptures

Neil Emmerson & Anne Ooms
(I was his...) & The Journey of Unspoken Things

2005, Installation of shaved & dyed blankets, etchings, polystyrene & flock sculptures

Anne Ooms
The Ledge of Leaping Faith

2005, polystyrene & flock on plinth

Currently selected image

Neil Emmmerson
(I was his...)

These three words introduce a short piece of text lifted from Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers. They are being used as the title for this cluster of works because they refer, at once, to the seemingly disparate ideas of capture and surrender. This one sentence, engraved (shaved) across seven midnight-green blankets and hung (a heavy curtain) against the gallery wall, might also simultaneously embody notions of both adoration and betrayal. Opposite this undulating veil of dark green and running around the remaining walls of the gallery are a suite of etchings that bear the same name, (I was his...) The repeated image is a well known one, etched into the unconscious digitally by the world news media. This image of an anonymous victim of abuse at Abu Graibe prison in Iraq became subliminal, it appeared in my dreams. As an image the references it engenders are many and varied yet somehow it remains hovering uncomfortably above them all, unfixed yet iconic. There is still no reference to terrorism without it appearing in my minds eye, however it has also come to embody for me an image with equally frightening personal resonances. The Genet text operates in the same way, it has this double movement, appearing only on the threshold of meaning, remaining slippery, malleable, and incomplete. I made a suite of etchings (I'm thinking about the prints of Goya) flipping the image mirror wise, one way then then other. The twin images are mostly printed in pairs, manipulated by the printing process to appear in a variety of positive and negative states on black and white paper. This physical process became a means of psychological ingestion for me, a prayer, a confusion of guilty devotion, as if (who said that) I had committed the atrocity myself or was committing another by appropriation.

There is a white plaster cast in commemoration of a man's lost (abandoned) shoe placed on the gallery floor. As mute as the figure in the white frames on the walls, perhaps it is still able to signify the body that stood, walked, maybe sat, in that war memorial garden in the park where it was found. (I was his...) is also the title of this replica of the brogue, civil service shoe that had once fostered ambient night and day sounds from the park (the actual shoe has been manipulated to include a sound piece and has been previously exhibited.) Through a process akin to transubstantiation it has become a relic, a fossil, or even the outmoded, fake, plaster copy of a classical, sculptural fragment to be drawn, emulated, studied, perhaps also eventually worshipped. In relation to it, on the wall, is a single image, another etching, broadly framed in black. A man blows a single, smouldering, smoke ring (imagine the dream scenario in reverse and it swallows him.) Like a fluffy, white doughnut it hovers, caught in an evanescent moment, fixed and fugitive, before a shadowy face that might indicate the suffering of some type of ecstasy, even indifference.

Tracing a path through, like an emerging archipelago, connecting the two gallery spaces are 5 orientalist landscapes lifted from a recent exhibition project by Anne Ooms. Floating atop slender plinths these velvety, moss green miniatures of what is exotic, remote, secluded and inaccessible have been kidnapped (generously loaned) from their original context to be included in this spacial assemblage. What is distant gains proximity and what is internal becomes apparent. I have a wish that the notion of pilgrimage invested in these works might create a contemplative space for connections to be made, even when, ironically, none of the objects in this constellation of signs are really mine for the giving. Torn from another's book, stolen off the internet, found in a park and beggared from a friend they are bought together here simultaneously in order for them to unleash their effects upon each other, and you.

Neil Emmerson
August 2005

Anne Ooms
The Journey of Unspoken Things

Anne Ooms' installations over the last few years, have evoked mystical and mythical sources, influenced by Indigenous art and time spent in Sri Lanka and Cornwall.

She has been included in numerous national survey exhibitons, including Signs of Life, Melbourne International Biennial (1999) and Terra Mirabilis, Cardiff (2000).

 

 

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