6 - 23 July 2011
Jean Baudrillard writes in his essay The Systems of Collecting ”the missing item in the collection is in fact an indispensable and positive part of the whole”1 and it is within this framework that this work from Adele Macer’s first solo exhibition since beginning a Masters of Visual Art at the Victorian College of the Arts and Music, that The Gap explores the space between subject and object as a necessary and positive host for desire.
Sigmund Freud discovered that collecting can begin at a very early age and in his research into a child’s psychological development the child’s invention of symbolism, the use of an object to represent the absent mother, was used by the child to manage his/her anxiety about the absence of the mother. Freud noticed his young grandson throwing a wooden reel attached to a piece of string over the edge of his cot so that it disappeared, and after saying “o-o-o-o,” he would pull it back to himself and say, “da.” He repeated this game over and over. Freud and the boys mother understood him to be saying “Fort” and “Da” (the german words for “there” and “gone”). This early learning experience is often repeated through-out one’s adult life (with varying degrees) and sets up a pattern to which lack is substituted with objects. Professor Barbara Bolt from the Victorian College of the Arts and Music states that “there are only two points of plentitude, and that is birth and death and in-between is desire for wholeness.”2 Thus, the collector attempts to fulfil this desire with the object, but what might this gap between subject and object look like?
It is in the ‘in-between’ space that the work hopes to explore the role of desire and the object. Drawing upon the geometrical form of the tetrahedron as a motif of display, ‘The Levitators’ looks at ways in which the space between object and subject can ignite imagination. Creating tensions between soft materials and hard surfaces, and the seductive nature of black satin juxtaposed with the domestic nature of the craft of quilting pushes this gap even wider as ideas of absence and presence come into play. As Baudrillard states in his essay, an ‘object only acquires its exceptional value by dint of being absent’3, it is absence or space between in which the work attempts to explore the collectors pursuit of wholeness.
The print reminds us of the absence of the object. These tetrahedron shapes were once the display unit on which an object was placed. Now the object is missing, and these shapes have become objects onto themselves, displacing desire. These tetrahedrons will never exist in that space or time ever again, however, we see them before us in a photographic representation. A photograph, by its very nature, explores absence and presence, and also past and present.
‘The Wallpaper’ and ‘The Quilt’ explore ideas of covering and separation. The repetitive geometric wallpaper is all-consuming and one may lose their footing in a dizzying blur as they move towards it, much like the spell cast over a collector once their eyes are set on the desired object. The wallpaper is a like a veil that shields the collector’s eyes from anything out of the focus and determination of his/her quest and separates us like a thin membrane or web from the wall of the gallery.
‘The Quilt’ also speaks to time, process and the comforting nature of a patchwork. There exists a very different type of history and warmth that is imbued in a patchwork quilt that other blankets do not have. They are a labour of love, a generational heirloom, and tell stories of ancestors. However, this quilt with it’s modern and sleek design, differs from the kinds of patchwork quilts we may have seen. This quilt speaks of now and offers a contemporary take on a very old craft technique, once again drawing comparisons of past and present whilst existing in-between.
- Adele Macer, 2011.