365 screenprinted and cut paper zinnias, blacklight, electric fans
dimensions variable (this image 12′ x 12′ x 6′)
Center to Edge
River City Biennale
installed at Fisch Haus
Loss is inevitable…and taking note of our collective and individual loss is equally inevitable. Creating elaborate extemporaneous memorials at the site of every untimely death and every natural disaster has come to feel like a genetic imperative. We may argue about whether a pile of teddy bears is actually a suitable tribute to the dead, but we’re not likely to argue about the impulse to make monuments.
Adieu is the result of the impulse I have to pay attention to the passing of friends and relatives. I want their lives to be memorialized, too. Additionally, I want to recognize that the loss of individuals, whether they’re known to us or not, is a shared loss. We know the impact of losing thousands of young men and women in wartime is a tragedy to their families; we don’t know what the repercussion of that loss is to us—we can only imagine future monuments.
I looked to the past for inspiration in creating Adieu. The 19th century provides a fertile field for commemorative work (think hair wreaths) and arcane symbolism. Adieu uses 365 screenprinted cut paper zinnias to represent “thoughts of absent friends,” making reference to the Language of Flowers (defined in Wikipedia as “…a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken.”)