Wednesday, July 17, 2013

That Which Is ~ Artist's Statement

That Which Is : Marcia Lippman

“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory. "    Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

That Which Is, is an installation combining my photographs with found photographs I’ve collected over some 25 years. All the images, both mine and found, spoke mysteriously to some stilled memories within me. Some inner sanctum was opened, confirmed, affirmed by the texture of a marble statue, the melancholy of a deep forest, the seductive glance from a Victorian cabinet card. These are the things which penetrated me, marked me, and thus are all fragments of the archeology of my past and my perceptual process, which, now merged, have been reframed into something entirely new.

The narrative of their union veers between fact and imagination in visual poems which I call Cantos. The Cantos, which are specific combinations of images, either alone or groups of three, both mine and found, are themselves vignettes, snapshots which converse with my past. Memories, especially childhood memories, shape our inner world. They are the stories we tell to others as well as to ourselves in order to make sense of our lives. They give resonance to what is unknown and unspoken, and perhaps even what never really happened, but has become that which is. Writers like Faulkner and Pinter, Barthes and Bachelard have all echoed Proust’s thoughts that the remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. Oliver Sacks recently added that ‘ We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection.’  These Cantos are an act of recollection. They speak to the subjective and ephemeral nature of memory and reflect on the immediacy of our past in our lives; the longing, the family secrets, the textures and stains, the loss, the absence, the love, the beauty, the fears and the dreams, all pulled forward by something in the present, by a physical object, by a photograph, which sends each of us back to our own past. Memory and photography share an alchemic relationship. That which was becomes that which is, and, in turn,that which will be.

I am a storyteller by nature. I tell stories with words and with images. Time and Memory have been the recurring stories in my photographic work for decades, long before I merged these two bodies of images and realized how, together, they emerged as a fully realized visual memoir. As Rilke discerningly observed, ‘Perhaps creating something is nothing but an act of profound remembrance.’ 

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